PerceptEngine Features - Thresholding

PerceptEngine Features - Part IV

 SolidScore value fluctuation as the build progresses layer by layer.

SolidScore value fluctuation as the build progresses layer by layer.

Last time, I discussed the importance of the SolidScore metric and how it aids in Additive adoption by providing Additive users information about component quality every layer of the 3D-Printing fabrication process. We talked about how PerceptEngine easily conveys digital model variance information to users and how SolidScore values collected every layer are presented graphically during the fabrication process.

By creating the graphical representation of component quality (dictated by the SolidScore value) versus layer number, we are able to derive a trend-line for how well a component is being fabricated layer by layer. Since the SolidScore analysis occurs in real-time while the 3D-Printer is still running, we realized that it would be pretty easy to programmatically activate triggers if the SolidScore trend-line began dropping below pre-set user SolidScore values.

This all sounds very technical, you're losing me...

Think of it this way, imagine your 3D-Printer starts screwing up. The video below is an example of a plastic 3D-Printer failing to correctly make a part.

Please note: PerceptEngine is applicable to all Additive Manufacturing processes, not just plastic printers.

In this video you can clearly see something has gone wrong at some point during the printing process, yet the 3D-Printer continues to try and make the part.

If this particular printer from Stratasys, a pioneer in the field of Additive, had PerceptEngine's SolidScore metric, the printer would have been able to autonomously determine the part was not being printed correctly.

But once the printer comes to the conclusion things aren't going as planned, shouldn't it be able to take some action to prevent failure or at the very least alert an operator?

Recall: The SolidScore value represents how well the 3D-Printer is building the part. A low SolidScore means part quality is low, a high SolidScore means part quality is acceptable.

That's where thresholding comes in, once the SolidScore value falls below a user pre-set value, the printer will take actions autonomously, in-real time during the fabrication process, to improve component quality.

 SolidScore Value vs. Layer # Graph (Left) and Threshold Selection Tab (Right)

SolidScore Value vs. Layer # Graph (Left) and Threshold Selection Tab (Right)

These actions are set by the user prior to, or during, the fabrication process in the Thresholds tab. Currently, the thresholding feature offers the ability for the 3D-Printer to alert operators via text or email, pause the printer, stop the print entirely, and even repair errors in the fabrication process autonmously before moving to the next layer in the hope of not needing to bother an operator.

Wait so the printer can determine when it needs to take action and can also take actions to improve quality without any operator input?

Yes!!!!! So not only do you not have to Baby-Sit your 3D-Printer when using PerceptEngine, you don't even have to take actions when things go wrong until the system prompts you for help! PerceptEngine's AutoCorrection threshold can even fix errors during the build process autonomously. I know that sounds a little too futuristic but the future is here and now, I'll dive into just how we pull that off in my next upcoming blog.

- Joseph M. Sinclair

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