To FoolProof or FutureProof? That is the Question.

Additive Manufacturing ROIAs we pack our bags over the next few days and head off to Formnext, one of the world’s leading events for additive manufacturing, we wanted to share some thoughts to keep with you as you peruse the next generation of intelligent industrial production at the show.

As you are scanning the exhibition in need of a solution for better support structure removal and better surface finishing for your additive manufacturing program…do you invest in advanced technology that works today – or wait to see how technology evolves in the future? There’s the rub as they say.

The good news is you don’t have to choose.

The initial PostProcess solutions were designed for an end-state that doesn’t yet exist. When we recognized that the world wasn’t quite caught up, we backed up to create solutions that add enormous value in today’s paradigm – while we wait for the world to evolve to our original starting place. In essence, it was the ultimate future-proofing strategy.

Start like we did: envision the state of additive manufacturing several years from now. You can expect to see a proliferation of software that automatically creates the optimal part design (prototype software is already on display on tradeshow floors). What goes into that? Yes, of course, part geometries, structural properties, 3D printer technology and materials and more. But another critical consideration is the requirements for finishing the part – both through the removal of support materials (whether powder or structural) or the surface finishing. Insight into those finishing steps needs to be fed into the software design programs – which means digitized post-processing is needed.

The challenge with making this vision manifest today is that solutions do not exist that can execute to this standard. And many companies in the additive space have their hands full addressing today’s challenges: high quality, replicable post processing to enable a scalable solution for customer-ready parts.

That’s when we went beyond building for the future – and built the bridge from today’s requirements (and capabilities) to that future. This led us to launch the first and only automated solutions for post print support removal and surface finishing. Automated post printing is, in essence, the bridge to the digitized post-printing that will be dominant tomorrow. The good news is that, with PostProcess, you’re at the forefront of both. Whether you seek to understand a step-change in your post printing results today – or are scaling for Industry 4.0, or both – PostProcess can help you understand the evolving landscape.

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