Imagine the ability to implement 3D printing optimizations in real-time according to incoming data streams projected overhead.
If you visit the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Cymru, this is exactly what you will experience.
Thanks to the Factory+ framework, machines can manage, analyze, and export data generated through manufacturing operations. This open-access digital architecture was developed by engineers at the AMRC’s Factory 2050 in Sheffield.
According to Harri Williams, a software engineer at AMRC Cymru, Factory+ can extract data from 3D printers, robot arms, CNC machines, and automated guided vehicles (AGV). As a result, manufacturers can analyze past performance and follow trends according to the consolidated data.
The AMRC Cymru’s two Stratasys 3D printers, the J835 and F170, are part of the Factory+ architecture. This is in addition to the Stratasys F170s and Fortus 900mc which are currently located at another AMRC site in Rotherham. This enables AMRC engineers to follow the output of these printers, their most utilized machines.
The dashboard displays data which shows, for instance, how much material is left in the machines and current job status. A new feature that they have recently applied is an alert when a job is failing. Operators can react to jobs within ten minutes which results in a reduced number of wasted prints.
Facilitating Machine Connectivity
According to Frank Lindeman, Business Development & Customer Success, Stratasys Software, “it's becoming clear that machine connectivity is key to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 and make factories smarter.”
The Stratasys printers at AMRC Cymru and the AMRC site in South Yorkshire, are powered by MTConnect and the GrabCAD Printer Connectivity API. These tools are both part of the open GrabCAD Additive Manufacturing Platform.
By integrating Stratasys machines with Factory+, they can work efficiently with other smart factory floor equipment.
With insights available at their fingertips (or in the AMRC’s case, displayed on a projector), manufacturers can execute complete control over their processes, even down to the second.
To learn more about Factory+: factoryplus.app.amrc.co.uk