In Part III of Our Roots, I mentioned a solution to make 3D-Printers "smart" by enabling a printer to perceive what it is fabricating and comparing what it perceived to what it is suppose to fabricate in order to determine discrepancies and errors in real-time.
I also mentioned how Additive Manufacturing can not scale in the modern manufacturing supply chain without enhanced traceability for 3D-Printed parts.
At Solid Innovations, we've spent quite sometime contemplating the problem of traceability and in-process errors that plagues 3D-Printing. We've arrived at an answer:
Why should I care about 'PerceptEngine'?
You should care because PerceptEngine is the first of it's kind. PerceptEngine is the first software that allows 3D-Printers to become self-aware. This is the "smart" aspect of PerceptEngine I mentioned in an earlier post.
Shouldn't we be concerned with self-aware 3D-Printers? Haven't you seen Terminator?
Personally I'm more of a Short-Circuit fan but I understand what you're scratching at.
Don't worry, we haven't given your 3D-Printers feelings...
PerceptEngine make's a 3D-Printer self-aware in terms of how well it's doing the job it's been asked to do. In today's world, when an operator tells a 3D-Printer to make a part, the 3D-Printer begins making the part (sounds straightforward enough). The only problem with that approach is that existing software's (besides PerceptEngine) for 3D-Printers don't pay attention to how well the 3D-Printer is actually making that specific part.
This means highly trained operators spend their time "Baby-Sitting" 3D-Printers as I mentioned in a previous blog post.
PerceptEngine eliminates that need by allowing 3D-Printers to baby-sit themselves.
So you made an automated baby-sitter for 3D-Printers (aka Robots), why does it matter?
It matters because now 3D-Printing can be used for mass-manufacturing.
I still don't get it, can you give me an analogy?
Imagine you tell a robot to assemble a bridge using a set number of specific lego pieces. With modern software, if all the pieces are there and you told the robot exactly how to assemble the bridge it'll succeed in carrying out this task. But what if you hid a lego piece (i.e. an error during the 3D-Printing process)? Well the robot will do one of two things, sit there until you give it the piece it needs or more likely it will finish the assembly without the piece and not realize the bridge is missing a piece.
PerceptEngine allows that robot to perceive what it is suppose to build, in this case a bridge, and will allow the robot to autonomously create it's own solution/instructions to make a bridge that it decides meets your specified criteria without requiring the piece you hid or your input.
The point of PerceptEngine is to allow robots, in our case 3D-Printers, to address challenges that normally required significant operator input. Automating the challenges such as creation of a traceability reports for every build, detection of errors in-process ("Baby-Sitting"), and the automatic derivation and application of fixes for detected errors allows operators, engineers, designers, and artist to do what they do best: think creatively.
People should spend their precious time focusing on deriving innovative solutions for problems we face instead of micro-managing the vary tools (3D-Printers) that are suppose to release our creativity. That's why we built PerceptEngine.
My next series of blog posts will focus on various features of PerceptEngine and give you a better perspective of how we're leveraging our technology to improve Additive Manufacturing.
- Joseph M. Sinclair
Interested in seeing if PerceptEngine is right for you? Sign up for our free Beta Program and join the revolution today!