Authentise and Autodesk announced a partnership that should speed 3D printing workflows.
The arrangement involves a seamless integration between Authentise’s automated 3D printing workflow and Autodesk’s popular Netfabb tool for optimizing 3D print jobs. Previously, you would have to jump out of one tool to use another, unnecessarily complicating the workflow.
If there is one single item that bothers me the most about using 3D printers, it is the workflow that is required. In almost every case you must use multiple tools to complete your work, as it seems there is no single tool that does everything well.
One tool might be useful for chopping 3D models into separate parts, while another might be best for performing STL repairs, while yet another may be optimal for arranging multiple parts on a build plate. You get the idea, because you’ve likely been there.
Some tools, like Autodesk’s Netfabb, do bundle many functions together to create a very useful environment, but even it does not do everything necessary to complete a 3D print experience. Authentise provides 3DIAX, an automated workflow that helps take you through the entire process of 3D printing, from model creation to post processing.
The Authentise product does not actually do all of the detailed 3D processing, but does create a trackable and provable end-to-end sequence through which you can ensure all necessary steps are taken to achieve a final 3D print.
This means it will invoke, or require you to invoke, other tools to complete steps in the 3D printing sequence. Today’s announcement is that one of those external tools, Netfabb, will be seamlessly integrated, as Authentise continues to partner with fitting technologies. This means that an Authentise user can easily transfer print job assets to and from Netfabb for processing. They explain:
“As part of the integration, users of Authentise products can now load geometries directly into Netfabb with a single press of a button, using Autodesk’s cloud-based Forge developer platform. Saving files edited in Netfabb back into Authentise is equally simple, so that a seamless additive workflow from quoting, to CAD editing, version control, scheduling, and real-time, data-driven monitoring is now possible. The integration is available to those customers, such as Danfoss, who subscribe to both Authentise’s Additive Accelerator and any version of Autodesk Netfabb.”
That last point is important: in order to use Netfabb, you must be a valid customer licensed for Netfabb.
Engineering firm Danfoss, who produce countless industrial products, illustrates the need for this type of integration. Their business is to efficiently design, produce and market hardware products, and anything that can speed up their process would be strongly welcomed. Their Global Head of Additive Design & Manufacturing, Werner Stapela, explains:
“We are pleased to hear that Authentise and Autodesk are collaborating to create a seamless, integrated additive workflow. To date, additive manufacturing workflows have included dozens of steps with many unconnected tools. That is not scalable. To address this, we prefer integrating a variety of solutions as it enables choice and competition.”
Even large companies like Danfoss experience the same disconnected nature of the 3D printing process, but with improvements like we see with the Authentise / Autodesk partnership, that problem is slowly being chipped away.