Additive Manufacturing

Smart Software Automatically Optimizes Lightweight Structures

| Author/ Editor: Stefan Schwaneck / Alexander Stark

Amendate GmbH aims to relieve engineers of tedious routines in order to create more scope for creative activity: The company wants to raise additive manufacturing to a new level. The young company will be presenting its new development at the joint startup stand of the EMO Hannover trade fair with software that is to be ready for the market on time.

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The Startup Amendate presents a tool for the optimization of lightweight structures at EMO 2019. The aim is to relieve engineers of tedious routines so that they have more time for development.
The Startup Amendate presents a tool for the optimization of lightweight structures at EMO 2019. The aim is to relieve engineers of tedious routines so that they have more time for development.
( Source: Amendate )

It all started with four friends who in over the course of four years of research at the Research Center for additive manufacturing (DMRC) of the University of Paderborn made an important observation: Although industrial 3D printing offers a wide range of possibilities for manufacturing filigree light metal components with great robustness at low cost, there was a lack of suitable software. The manual data transfer in CAD formats cost a lot of time and effort and left a lot of room for interpretation, which led to a loss in quality.

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Software Smoothes Geometric Data

"We wanted to solve this problem," says Dr. Thomas Reiher, who has dealt with the generation of complex bionic structures as part of his dissertation and is a managing director of the founding team of Amendate GmbH. For over four years, he has worked on the development of a technology that automates and interprets the process of data transmission and intelligently smoothes the resulting geometric data. This led to the development of an approach for setting up a company in order to further develop the technology in a user-oriented way.

Increased Quality for Additively Manufactured Parts

The result is a software solution that increases the quality of additively manufactured components, accelerates processes considerably and is launched on the market in summer after the final polish. Reiher: “Our software ensures that geometries are no longer accidentally removed during data smoothing. In addition, work steps that would otherwise take a few weeks can be completed in just a few days with this technology.

More Attention Can Be Payed to Development

Fears that skilled workers might become superfluous through automation are being firmly denied by the young entrepreneurs. Dr. Gereon Deppe, responsible for marketing and finance as well as co-founder of the startup, sees their importance in value creation even increasing: “Instead of losing oneself in the small details of data processing, engineers can devote much more attention to the creative process. They gain time to optimize the basic concept of the product and integrate additional features."

Wide Range of Applications for Lightweight Components

According to the founders, with their technology, additive manufacturing will take the step from a promising technology to a key technology. Reiher: “There is a need for filigree lightweight design in many areas, from the aviation and automotive industries to mechanical and plant engineering, especially when we are thinking of special machines requiring small quantities. We offer a previously unavailable tool that generates components that can be used quickly, reduces the amount of material used and enables cost-effective use.” The focus is not only on established customers and products whose classic components are to be redesigned for additive production, but also on new components that originate from the 3D printer.

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Component Optimization without Extensive Prior Knowledge

The team is currently working on an intuitive user interface that allows component optimization without extensive prior knowledge and thus enables smaller companies to use additive manufacturing in their production. Deppe: “Our goal is to play a major role in shaping the generative design market, and our vision is that all components will be optimized in the future. In this way, raw materials can be conserved, and production can be promoted in the sense of sustainability.

To make this vision a reality, Amendate strives for rapid national and international growth based on its technology leadership. Deppe is convinced that the currently still small market offers a good basis: “It is still very difficult to find experience, distinctive competence or suitable offers. This is where we can start, develop the market ourselves and actively drive processes forward."

EMO Hannover as a Platform for Customer Acquisition

EMO Hannover is supposed to help in this. The founders hope to make contact with new customers and interested parties from the most important industries and sales markets. "It's a good feeling to talk to experts and see that your idea is well received. Trade fair appearances help us to learn and assess our needs even better," says Reiher, who will be at EMO Hannover with his team shortly before the company's first anniversary. The fair motto ‘Smart technologies driving tomorrow's production!’ is also tailored to the founders' needs, Deppe is pleased to say: "We are digitalizing a manual process that, supported by artificial intelligence, can be done autonomously in the future. This makes us the enabler of additive manufacturing in the mass market, a real driving force of tomorrow's production."

Opportunities for Additive Manufacturing

The approach of Amendate GmbH is to revolutionize additive manufacturing. The company can already present first successes:

  • In an international poll, the readers of the industry portal 3Dnatives voted Amendate the most innovative startup of the year 2018.
  • The company was also able secure an Exist founder scholarship for three employees.
  • Together with Protiq GmbH from Blomberg, an already established supplier of additive manufacturing, a far-reaching cooperation was also established. Based on Amendate's technology, Protiq is now the first service provider worldwide to offer online topology optimization that creates added value for users through ease of use.

This article was first published by konstruktionspraxis.

Original by Monika Zwettler /Translation by Alexander Stark

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