PTC, EOS and Link3D announced at formnext 2019 that they have joined forces to enable production quality at scale for EOS industrial 3D printing systems by using augmented reality (AR) and manufacturing execution systems (MES).
Organizations can digitally streamline the processes of ordering, costing and scheduling build cycles, however, the missing link to ensure repeatable production quality still lies in standardizing human processes, especially when preparing additive manufacturing machines to print orders. EOS, PTC, and Link3D are configuring a way to close this gap by linking machine preparation and downstream manufacturing processes with customized fixed workflows as well as recording the actions.
“Scalable and agile industrial use of EOS additive production systems requires skilled and knowledgeable operators for the critical steps in preparation and post processing.” shares Christoph Braeuchle, VP of Production Innovation Management at PTC, “Procedural workforce guidance based on our Vuforia AR technology helps training and guiding the workforce and complements Link3D Additive MES. With a connection between Link3D and our ThingWorx industrial IoT platform this combined solution will empower our joint customers to further scale their use of additive production capabilities.”
The EOS, PTC and Link3D collaboration will help organizations in the additive manufacturing (AM) arena to:
1) Increase production quality with repeatable fixed processes
2) Standardize workflows with guided AR work instructions for EOS machine setup and maintenance
3) Enable an End-to-end Digital Thread
4) Validate processes to adhere to customer regulatory requirements
5) Generate parts’ ‘Certificates of Conformance’, other quality documentation and data analytics reporting
Procedural Guidance with PTC’s Augmented Reality (AR) technology provides digital work instructions in a 3D overlay on physical EOS machines using mobile devices like iPads or head-mounted AR devices. This procedural guidance can be initiated from the Link3D MES Job Traveler and PTC. Organizations adopting this solution can train a large number of employees with standardized workflows to prepare EOS machines for production whilst keeping highest quality standards.
In a manufacturing scenario, as employees complete each step using AR procedural guidance, the workflow steps are automatically validated and data output is digitally recorded in real-time within Link3D. As a result, documentation, quality reports such as parts’ ‘Certificate of Conformance’ and quality analytics are automatically generated. By standardizing production processes, organizations can increase part quality at scale, while removing the need for paper trails, which often get filled out improperly or even entirely lost.