Skip to content

Optimizing Component Designs with New Additive Manufacturing Tools

Pat Waurzyniak
By Patrick Waurzyniak Contributing Editor, SME Media

Manufacturing Engineering: Tell us about 3D Systems’ release of the new 3DXpert for Solidworks.

Roy Sterenthal: 3DXpert for Solidworks is a complementary software solution for Solidworks, providing professional users, designers and engineers with a complete toolset to prepare and optimize their designs for additive manufacturing [AM]. This allows companies to be more competitive, expand the types of projects they can design, and enjoy the advantages that AM brings.

The driver for introducing the product was to democratize the use of AM technologies to the Solidworks professional users, making design for AM more accessible. Existing solutions can be expensive and involve an iterative and cumbersome toggling between several software solutions. 3DXpert for Solidworks provides a streamlined workflow. A click of a button brings Solidworks native CAD data directly into 3DXpert for Solidworks and provides an extensive toolset to easily prepare, analyze, and optimize the design for AM.

ME: How does 3DXpert for Solidworks differ from the previously released 3DXpert version?

Sterenthal: 3DXpert is an all-in-one software solution from design to additive manufacturing and is best for users handling the entire manufacturing process. It is a manufacturing-oriented product that includes design for AM, and is sold exclusively by 3D Systems. 3DXpert for Solidworks is a derivative of 3DXpert software, tailored for the Solidworks environment and is best for designers handling the preparation and optimization for additive manufacturing rather than the actual manufacturing and postprocessing operations. It is a design-oriented product that is sold exclusively to Solidworks 3D CAD subscribers and only through Solidworks resellers.

Roy Sterenthal
Vice President, Software Products
3D Systems Inc.
Rock Hill, SC

ME: Describe the partnership with Dassault, and how 3D Systems worked with the company on this 3DXpert for Solidworks version.

Sterenthal: While manufacturers are already leveraging AM capabilities to enhance the manufacturing process, Solidworks users have historically lacked easy access to AM capabilities during the design phase. Filling this gap is where 3DXpert for Solidworks comes into play.

We identified two key issues that Solidworks users are facing when designing for additive manufacturing:

  • Accessibility—design for AM solutions are expensive and cannot be accessed directly from the Solidworks software.
    Cumbersome and iterative workflow—back and forth iterations between AM preparation software and Solidworks.

In recognition of 3DXpert’s advanced capabilities and position as an all-in-one solution for AM, Solidworks decided to partner with 3D Systems to deliver a tailored solution that will be incorporated into the Solidworks design workflow.

3DXpert for Solidworks is part of Solidworks’ new Select partner program, in which Solidworks chose to offer complementary products for their subscribers. These products are offered either as part of the subscription or with a discount. The program represents a strategic partnership, and the product was developed in cooperation with Solidworks.

In order to provide its subscribers with the right tools and with a competitive edge, 3DXpert for Solidworks standard edition is available exclusively to Solidworks subscribers and can be downloaded at no extra cost as part of a Solidworks subscription. Add-ons and a Pro Edition are sold exclusively by Solidworks resellers.

The new 3DXpert for Solidworks software from 3D Systems speeds additive manufacturing design creation and improves workflow efficiencies.
Image courtesy 3D Systems Inc.

ME: What advantages does AM bring to the metal components production industry?

Sterenthal: Additive manufacturing opens a new world of opportunities for 3D designers. Producing complex geometries, achieving lighter-weight parts without compromising on strength and applying surface textures are only some of the benefits AM introduces. Most important, awareness of AM’s capabilities allows designers’ innovation to lead the way without being held back by traditional manufacturing constraints. With additive manufacturing, if you are able to design it, you’ll be able to print it.

Therefore, the key point is to change the mindsets of designers. A mechanism that once required 15 parts in traditional manufacturing and assembly methods may now require only three. A part that once weighed 2 kg may now be reduced to 750 g with similar or maybe even superior characteristics.

ME: What are some of the difficulties encountered today in metal additive manufacturing? 

Sterenthal: With numerous technologies [mechanics, physics, chemistry and more] being involved, getting AM right may be a challenging task.

Many software solutions try to address this complexity, each focusing on a specific aspect of the process. Therefore, the main difficulty that AM is facing today is to have a streamlined workflow with the right toolset that will minimize the complexity involved in the process. A streamlined workflow will allow designers to fully exploit additive manufacturing capabilities on one hand while ensuring quality prints on the other. Addressing the key pain point of the current workflow, 3DXpert provides a single software solution to handle all the preparation and optimization stages from 3D design to high-quality professionally printed parts. There is no need to go through the time-consuming, back-and-forth, iterative process, as 3DXpert is a CAD-based system that includes all required functionality for preparing, optimizing and setting up 3D design for additive manufacturing.

New Releases

An update of Simcenter Amesim software from Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich, Germany) extends its 1D mechatronic system simulation platform’s capabilities. Formerly LMS Imagine.Lab Amesim software, this release features an improved user experience and better integration of overall design processes, according to the company.

Siemens’ new Simcenter Amesim software, formerly LMS Imagine, expands the simulation capabilities of the mechatronic system software platform.
Image courtesy Siemens PLM Software

Two new products, Simcenter Webapp Server and Simcenter Embedded Software Designer, extend the system simulation capabilities of the Simcenter portfolio. New releases of Simcenter System Synthesis and Simcenter Sysdm are said to further facilitate system simulation architecture creation, co-simulation and model management. With these additions to the Simcenter portfolio, which includes test solutions, engineers can make accurate designs earlier in the development process, accelerating design cycles and resulting in more successful products.

Simcenter Amesim is an integrated, scalable system simulation platform that allows users to virtually assess and optimize mechatronic system performance through the design cycle. Ready-to-use multiphysics libraries, combined with application and industry-oriented solutions, let system simulation engineers rapidly create models and accurately perform analysis. Simcenter Amesim supports the functional mock-up interface (FMI) and Modelica and can be coupled with major CAE, CAD and controls software packages, as well as with other Simcenter solutions and Teamcenter software. This flexibility allows for easy integration with a variety of enterprise processes. The latest release offers optimized modeling workflow and redesigned user interface to improve ergonomics and overall productivity through standardization with other Simcenter solutions.

Simcenter Amesim supports new applications that focus on current automotive industry challenges, such as fuel economy, pollutant emission reduction and e-mobility trends, according to Siemens. The latest release of Simcenter Amesim includes enhanced capabilities for real driving emissions estimation, valvetrain and lubrication system modeling, under-hood heat exchanger pre-sizing, as well as battery and electric motor design when coupled with Simcenter STAR-CCM+ software. For the aerospace industry, this release also comes with new functionalities for aircraft electrification as well as for propulsive and fuel systems design.

Rockwell Automation’s updated ThinManager v10.0 software provides factory-floor operators with easier access to information, improving productivity and reducing downtime.
Image courtesy Rockwell Automation

The new ThinManager v10.0 software from Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee) aims to give factory-floor workers better access to plant information. The update includes new visualization, mobility and security features that can help operators and technicians produce more with less downtime.

With a new virtual-screening capability, users can customize how they see applications and data from multiple sources, all without rewriting code. This capability can help them view the information most relevant to their job. New support for wearable technology can also change how workers access information. For example, a maintenance technician could diagnose and troubleshoot a machine just by looking at it through a Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset.

An updated hyperMill 2018.1 CAM software from Open Mind Technologies includes new Virtual Machining simulation functionality. Image courtesy Open Mind Technologies AG

Security features added include new authentication pass-through to help improve productivity. Version 10.0 allows operators to configure multiple forms of authentication such as RFID badges and biometrics. New password-caching capabilities allow administrators to configure time periods for PIN authentication during a shift.

An update of hyperMill CAM software is available from Open Mind Technologies AG (Needham, MA, and Wessling, Germany). This 2018.1 version includes a range of new features and enhancements including greater blending capabilities, 3D-optimized roughing, global fitting, rotational abilities for CAD electrode applications and new virtual machining simulation.

An enhanced soft overlap feature is included for blending machining marks found between steep and flat areas, or located at the boundaries of rest machining regions. The software’s 3D-optimized roughing cycle has been enhanced for applications with high-feed cutters. A new global fitting feature can simplify the definition of complex surfaces or patches of surfaces.

The update also includes an early release of hyperMill Virtual Machining simulation, which enables constant real-time, bidirectional communication between the machine tool controller and a remote Virtual Machining simulation, improving manufacturing workflow. Machining operations can be evaluated, checked and optimized before running a job by using process networking and virtual mapping found in the new simulation functionality.

New MiCAT Planner v1.5 software from Mitutoyo America

Mitutoyo America Corp. (Aurora, IL) has released its MiCAT Planner v1.5 software for its line of CMMs. In as little as one click, MiCAT Planner can automate the generation of measurement programs based on CAD models containing Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) information, as well as Dimensional Measuring Equipment (DME), according to the company, and when no GD&T information exists, it can be added.

The software adds several new functions, including supporting import of multiple CAD coordinate systems and the creation of multiple part coordinate systems. These features can be created from the Plan View or the 3D View. Other features include MCOSMOS report template selection, with report templates for the measurement program capable of being selected from the GEOPAK installation directory; angle tolerances that can be created from non-intersecting combinations of 2D or 3D line and axial features; and support for concentricity tolerance added for circles, construction circles, and spheres.


Jeff Ralyea

ERP software developer ECi Software Solutions (Fort Worth, TX) announced the appointment of Jeff Ralyea as president of its manufacturing division. In September 2017, ECi acquired the JobBoss, Macola, and Max manufacturing software businesses of Exact North America and combined them with its existing M1 manufacturing business to increase its presence and suite of solutions in the global SMB manufacturing market. Ralyea will work with the leaders of these businesses to refine ECi’s manufacturing and product positioning strategy, drive collaboration, and accelerate growth. He will be located at ECi’s corporate headquarters Fort Worth.

Ralyea has more than 20 years’ experience in the manufacturing software industry, including senior leadership positions with SAP, Infor, and most recently, Ellucian.

Dean Truitt

Savigent Software Inc. (Minneapolis), a supplier of event-driven smart manufacturing and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) workflow automation software, has named Dean Truitt CEO. Truitt has an engineering background with 35 years of experience transforming businesses, optimizing manufacturing and supply chain operations, and deploying software and technology solutions.

Truitt has been with Savigent Software for the past year as a board director and the CFO. Prior to Savigent, he served as CEO and COO of several middle-market companies. He was a partner with Ernst & Young and the National Leader of the Consumer Products Practice. Truitt started his career with Accenture.
The company also named John Mitchell CFO. Most recently Mitchell served in finance management roles at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for 18 years in various business units including applications and supply chain and operations. Prior to HPE, he was CFO of Rainier Technology, a consulting company which was sold to HP in 2001.

Software Update is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak.


  • View All Articles
  • Connect With Us

Related Articles

Always Stay Informed

Receive the latest manufacturing news and technical information by subscribing to our monthly and quarterly magazines, weekly and monthly eNewsletters, and podcast channel.