Last year, Utah-based 3DSIM, which was founded in 2014 and creates additive manufacturing simulation technology, partnered with Additive Industries to integrate its cloud-based exaSIM simulation software into the AdditiveWorld platform. The software was still in beta at that time, and Additive Industries was the first company to adopt it, not long before 3DSIM opened the beta software up to all manufacturers to use with their metal 3D printing processes. The company announced at the TCT Show in Birmingham this week that it’s completed alpha and beta testing and just released the full commercial version of exaSIM ULTIMATE.
exaSIM is a comprehensive suite of metal AM simulation tools, and the launch of ULTIMATE, after seven years of development and two years of testing, is the final addition to the portfolio.
It adds the capability of full part Thermal Strain predictions to Assumed Uniform and Scan Pattern strain. This allows engineers to use detailed additive manufacturing science in order to:
accurately predict part dimensions
automatically correct for distortion and optimize supports
visualize the effects of part orientation, process parameters and machine differences on 3D printed parts
Brent Stucker, CEO and co-founder of 3DSIM
“Seven years ago, as academics, Deepankar Pal (3DSIM’s Chief Scientist) and I decided to address the trial-and-error experimentation inherent in AM. We set out to build a suite of solvers to analyze laser/material interactions and material transformations fast enough to enable prediction for how different geometries, laser scan strategies, process parameters, and powder properties affect the accuracy and microstructure of full-scale AM-produced metal parts. Many people told us our dream for predicting full-part characteristics at meltpool-scale accuracy was impossible,” said Dr. Brent Stucker, CEO, 3DSIM. “Today we’re pleased to say that not only is it possible, it’s accessible world-wide using any internet-connected computer, smart phone and tablet. I’m excited that we’ve achieved our technical goals, building the most capable AM simulation tool in the world – exaSIM ULTIMATE. I’m looking forward to working with our customers to see how they leverage exaSIM to break down barriers to metal AM implementation and production.”
The company is focused on creating software tools that allow for predictions, based in physics, of additive manufacturing process outcomes before a part is built. The exaSIM suite offers important insight into the complexities of laser powder bed fusion, and comes up with solutions to issues like distortion, residual stress, and build failure, so users can achieve part tolerance without having to go through lengthy trial and error processes.
Engineers around the world have a perception that additive manufacturing processes are unpredictable, due to safety, supply chain issues, quality, higher costs, and inflated development cycles. This is part of the reason such a barrier exists when it comes to using metal AM for advanced applications, and even once companies are on board with the technology, the troubles don’t necessarily go away. Iterative trials waste materials, labor, and time, which is why it’s better to optimize AM part designs and build set-ups before printing begins in a physics-based software environment: profit margins go up and risk goes down when parts simulation becomes a part of the quoting and costing operations.
By being proactive and embedding exaSIM ULTIMATE into a front-end production workflow, users can enhance quality, and reduce postmortem analysis and rebuilding of non-conforming parts later. The software automatically generates two types of support structures, based on residual stress predictions, so users won’t waste material and time by adding supports where they don’t need to be. exaSIM will automatically compensate for STL file distortion during production, and helps prevent build failure with its Blade Crash detection feature. The software also helps with development and training of advanced design for AM (DFAM) skills, as it offers a “deeper insight into design and production dynamics.”
“The message we continually hear from users of exaSIM is how it has dramatically impacted their first-time- build success rate. One of our early adopters, who is highly experienced and skilled with metal AM, has reported a 70% improvement from before using our predictive tools. His operation now sustains over a 90% first-time success rate with the implementation of part simulation using exaSIM as a standard practice in their workflow,” said Ron Clemons, Director of Business Development, 3DSIM. “With 20 years’ experience in additive manufacturing myself, I can confidently say the exaSIM predictive and compensative tools are vital for moving laser powder bed fusion beyond the limits of niche manufacturing to serial production across a broad array of industries and applications.”
exaSIM ULTIMATE will increase innovation, and reduce build concerns, at companies, helping machine operators and designers successfully optimize design and build strategies. It also runs in a secure cloud environment, to enable data storage, higher speed, ease of use, and fast feature implementation; a GovCloud option is available for companies with ITAR restrictions.
You can purchase exaSIM ULTIMATE for $2,000, billed on a monthly basis, though the first two months are free with a prepaid annual subscription. You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial.