Senvol and Siemens Energy announced an arrangement to unleash considerable know-how on metal 3D printing.
Siemens Energy is one of the world’s premier users of metal 3D printing, having plenty of equipment in operation. They’ve produced countless items for clients using additive manufacturing.
Senvol, based in New York City, is quite a different company. They specialize in the data supporting additive manufacturing. That might be a big vague, but here are their specific products:
- Senvol Database: a massive and comprehensive database of industrial 3D printers and associated materials
- Senvol API: a programmatic interface to the database to enable customer systems to make direct use of the data
- Senvol Indexes: “Pedigreed” manufacturing datasets that contain proven print parameters, specimen properties, and material properties
- Senvol SOP: a 100-page standard operating procedure for generating pedigreed data for use by clients on their own equipment and materials
- Senvol ML: a machine learning tool to associate real data from operations with processes, materials and equipment
As you can see, Senvol’s offerings are complex and highly desirable for any large-scale industrial additive manufacturing. Without this data, an operation would have to figure it all out themselves at considerable time and cost.
This is in fact what many operations still do today: they require a squad of engineers to determine the print parameters for each job. That work can be notably shortened by using Senvol’s tools.
The relationship with Siemens Energy is quite interesting. During the course of Siemens Energy’s work over many years, the company has developed their own precise sets of print parameters and associated data. They’ve been using this information internally to help make their jobs succeed.
Now they want to commercialize this intellectual property. In other words, they want to sell access to the information to other organizations that happen to be using similar equipment and materials for their own projects.
Senvol was the obvious choice as a broker for this information, as it is fits well within their current product set.
The initial set of information will be focused on three specific AM materials: Ti64, Inconel 625 and Inconel 718. This new data will appear within the Senvol Index product.
Senvol’s President, Annie Wang explained:
“This marks an extremely significant point in the additive manufacturing industry. Databases of this pedigree and magnitude are typically considered proprietary information and are not made commercially available to other organizations.”
No kidding. This is usually top-secret stuff that is strongly protected by companies that generate it. Many companies would consider it as part of their strategic advantage in the industry: “we can print better than the next guy.”
But that seems to be changing with this arrangement between Siemens Energy and Senvol.
Why has Siemens Energy decided to do this? Do they no longer see this information as strategically advantageous?
It may be that they’re looking for a new revenue stream and are experimenting with this set of data to see if it can work.
If it does, we may see other organizations do the same.
Another thought: at some point in the distant future metal 3D printing will be a well-understood process and “everyone will know how”. We’re definitely not there yet, but this step by Siemens Energy might hint that we’re heading in that direction.