3D Printing and the Digital Twin

Digitize 3D printing farms, clusters or facilities using digital twin solutions. The Simio software creates digital twin environments with accurate 3D models of your shop floor assets and processes. 

Digital manufacturing processes are here to stay and the rise of the 3D printer is accelerating its use across diverse industries. In many industries, additive manufacturing is currently being used to develop products from scratch while in other industries, it serves as a supporting system for more traditional manufacturing processes. Its versatile mode of use and the ability to 3D print with most materials, has led enterprises in the automotive, aviation, healthcare, and basically discrete manufacturing industries to set up 3D printing clusters or farms.

3D printing clusters refer to tens or hundreds of 3D printers working together through a network. This helps with scaling up the famously limited manufacturing capacity of desktop 3D printers. Thus, the 3D printing farm is a manufacturing facility with its own shop floor. As with all shop floors, a logistics system, an inventory system, and other variables exist that determine the level of productivity within a facility. These sub-systems also produce data that can be read and written to enhance and automate production cycles. Today, commercial 3D printers rely on automation software and other tools to manage 3D printing processes and this is one area where the Digital Twin can help.

The Digital Twin and 3D Printing Process Automation

Digital twin solutions provide enterprises with the option of creating digital representations of every asset, system, and process within a facility. Applying its digitizing abilities to 3D printing farms opens up a more versatile process for managing every manufacturing process that occurs within the additive manufacturing facility.

The end result of creating digital twins of these facilities is a 360 degree* access to into the printing farm. With this access, the effects of increased demand on machine capacity and production speed can be determined, as well as, the ability to scrutinize resource use, and asset failures that affect productivity in 3D printing facilities. Original equipment manufacturers can take advantage of the digital twin to receive business intelligence from the ongoing processes in their 3d printing facilities. Other benefits of developing digital twins of 3D printing farms include:

  • Developing viable contingency plans to deal with downtime
  • Planning and implementing new facility layouts to increase productivity
  • Enhanced inventory management
  • Monitoring the manufacturing process in real-time

Simio and 3D Printing Facilities

The Simio software can be used to complete the digital manufacturing cycle within 3D printing clusters or facilities in different ways. This includes the development of a digital twin of the entire facility including the assets and workstations within it. With the modeled digital environment, the workflow around logistics and production can be mapped out and used to receive business intelligence in several ways.

One of these ways is through the use of simulations to assess new manufacturing policies and the introduction of new logistics elements or concepts before executing a physical implementation. The digital twin can also be used to access material use and the time spent across pre and post-production workstations to enhance productivity.

The digital twin can also be used to drive the scheduling policy within the facility. Thus enabling just-in-time production concepts in facilities where 3D printing farms are used as complementary production processes for developing components to be used in larger assemblies. With Simio, enterprises get the following benefits:

  • Real-time Scheduling
  • Predictive Analysis
  • Accurate Simulation Results
  • Cloud Compatibility
  • Actionable Business Insights

Create A Digital Twin Today

You can start the journey to a complete digital transformation for your facilities today by viewing a demo of the Simio software. Interested in learning more? Speak to a Simio representative today for a free viewing of the Simio Digital Twin software and its application.

Download the Simio Simulation Software Evaluation Edition Free