Metal 3D printing services bureau Rosswag Engineering has launched in beta what is believed to be the world’s first marketplace for exchanging Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) process parameters.
The AddiMap project was launched in partnership with software company NuCOS in 2020. The goal was to create a centralized B2B platform where additive manufacturing companies can share materials, parameters, data and services related to metal 3D printing, all with the aim of accelerating the industrialization of technology.
The partners are currently testing the first service of the common AddiMap platform, where users can buy and sell proven material data and process parameter sets for LPBF 3D printers.
Streamlined Process Parameter Development
Based in Germany, Rosswag has an extensive portfolio of 3D printing products and services, including metal powders, high-performance components, and material and parameter qualification services. Since its inception, the company has 3D printed more than 60,000 metal parts and qualified more than 40 PBF materials for its customers.
Leveraging its expertise, the company has developed the marketplace to ensure that more market participants can utilize the benefits of process parameter optimization in a more accessible way.
Validating the productivity of a specific set of metrics internally can be a very tedious and expensive process, especially when dealing with small businesses. It is not uncommon for companies to spend weeks and months developing and performing their own set of tests and analyses. According to Rosswag, the associated R&D costs can also exceed €10,000 in some cases.
With the AddiMap Marketplace, the idea is to completely revamp the process parameter development workflow. Instead of setting up in-house studies, users simply search, purchase and download the parameter sets they need in minutes at much lower costs. The two-step process involves defining the material by chemical composition or material number, and specifying the LPBF system that will be used. AddiMap will then search its database for a corresponding set of parameters.
Rosswag says that beyond time and cost savings, customers can also expect significant improvements in productivity. Purchased parameter sets would be developed by companies with better R&D capabilities and greater domain expertise, reliably enabling much higher build rates compared to off-the-shelf generic parameter sets .
Towards an industrialization of additive manufacturing
On the other side of the coin, the market also provides an additional revenue stream for data providing companies with a focus on R&D. Rather than sitting on an otherwise unused dataset, they can capitalize on their labor and recoup R&D costs through AddiMap sales.
Ultimately, AddiMap is a place to stand on the shoulders of giants, which means businesses may no longer have to solve problems that have been solved many times before. This allows newcomers to additive manufacturing to spend their resources more wisely, focusing on new applications and pushing 3D printing towards greater industrialization.
This theme of industrialization is a common thread throughout the sector. Last month, automotive company BMW announced the success of its Additive Manufacturing Industrialization and Digitization (IDAM) project. Launched three years ago, the initiative has set up two automotive 3D printing production lines in Bonn and Munich. Designed for high-volume automated production, the sites are now capable of manufacturing approximately 50,000 parts per year.
Elsewhere, software developer Materialize recently announced its new CO-AM open software platform, a comprehensive 3D printing process management tool that is expected to accelerate industrialization. The cloud-based program is aimed at high-volume manufacturers and provides access to a wide variety of software tools to plan, manage and optimize the industrial 3D printing workflow.
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Featured image shows an SLM 280 3D printer at a Rosswag factory. Photo via Rosswag Engineering.