The age of connectivity is upon us. From smart fridges to the global supply chain, our world is becoming more connected and data centric than ever before. This data centric world emphasizes the need and desire for increased efficiency across all industries.
So the question becomes, what is driving this new age of data driven connectivity and efficiency? The answer is simple: software.
Software bridges the gap between our current devices and systems with the cloud. This relationship gathers data from our current processes in manufacturing to improve workflows and efficiency.
Connected Software Solutions
The factory floor is an ever evolving space, under constant update and improvement. A typical factory floor today is digitized, meaning it incorporates robots and connected software solutions to improve efficiency and productivity. These connected solutions are constantly providing data and feedback that can be used to track and improve processes and workflow efficiencies in smart factories.
The same tactics are being deployed in the world of additive manufacturing. GrabCAD’s Software Partner Program incorporates solutions needed to improve efficiency, security and connectivity for all smart factories.
- AMFG: Software solutions include manufacturing execution system (MES) and workflow automation software for additive manufacturing. These solutions improve connectivity, scalability and efficiency in supply chains for all additive manufacturing users.
- Identify3D: Enhances security and traceability for all additive manufacturing companies supply chains.
These are just two of the seven software partners GrabCAD has so far, all of which improve the ability of our customers to efficiently implement additive manufacturing into their traditional manufacturing processes. The key to this relationship is the GrabCAD SDK and APIs which allow our partners additive minded software solutions to seamlessly integrate into our customers current production systems.
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Continental AG: A Case Study
The relationship between our software solutions and current smart factories creates an even more connected factory. Continental AG is another example of how 3D printing and software are currently being leveraged to improve one company’s manufacturing process.
Continental AG, one of the world's top tire manufacturers, has implemented Stratasys 3D printers into their arsenal of manufacturing capabilities. In 2020 they purchased an industrial-grade Stratasys Fortus 450mc™ FDM® 3D printer to help improve the turnaround time of part production in their factory.
The Fortus 450 can produce custom parts in hours, allowing the company greater flexibility across all parts of production. Stafan Kamann, head of samples and mechanical solutions for Continental AG, stated “With the Fortus 450mc, we’re able to quickly manufacture replacement production tools and parts in high-performance thermoplastics that perform in the same way we would expect of a traditionally manufactured equivalent.”
Connectivity is the Future
Connected factories are the future; they allow for manufacturers to produce parts quicker and cheaper than ever before. Those factories that implement 3D printing and the GrabCAD software solutions will be even better equipped to handle the challenges of manufacturing today.
Being able to print parts, on demand, without changing the current work process opens the door for a new world of manufacturing. 3D printing is the differentiator between good processes and workflows and great processes and workflows in connected factories.