Protolabs has launched DFM analysis for 3D printed parts as it looks to offer peace of mind to customers using its online production much as it has done for CNC machined parts and injection moulding previously.
The company views this as a significant advancement to its 3D printing offering in the UK an Europe, as it provides added assurance that a part is suitable for manufacturing before committing to production, all entirely online and in a matter of seconds.
Andrea Landoni, Protolabs EMEA’s 3D Printing product manager, said: “Additive manufacturing is a brilliant technology, allowing engineers to produce complex parts that were previously too difficult to achieve.
“Whilst the technology offers great flexibility, there are a few limitations that engineers must be aware of and the Design for Manufacturability analysis provides that guidance in seconds.”
Landoni says that the system will instantly highlight all the issues to the user, whether they are critical, such as parts that are too large to be produced, or non-critical, like dimensions that are close to certain thresholds like wall thickness and may not form completely.
“We understand the importance of speed, but ensuring that parts are correct, high quality, and delivered rapidly is critical. Instant analysis means you can have all the advantages of additive manufacturing with even more certainty – all without sacrificing speed,” he explains.
The Protolabs DFM processes is looking to eliminate lost time incidents for most common issues, preventing engineers from proceeding with their order only to discover there has been an issue hours later, and suggests that while the majority of problems can be solved quickly, there are circumstances where the user may still require further support to which Protolabs Application Engineers will be on hand to overcome and help accelerate the process.
“The Design for Manufacturability analysis supports our Application Engineers by reducing the number of projects they need to get involved in, allowing them to interact with more customers who require their support even faster,” concluded Landoni.