Additive Manufacturing software provider 3YOURMIND, Berlin, Germany, has launched the full version of its Agile Manufacturing Execution System (MES). The new software is said to add efficiency to the production floor by enabling smart part prioritisation, custom AM workflow creation, rapid scheduling and rescheduling and tracking by order, part and unit.
For five years, 3YOURMIND has been working with the AM industry to provide order management systems for industrial scale manufacturing. The Agile MES marks the expansion of the company’s solutions onto the production floor, following an Early Access Program used to solicit direct feedback from AM users to solve problems without long feedback cycles. The participants included representatives from the full spectrum of the AM value chain, including voestalpine, Eckhart, EOS and Tenco.
Tom Castermans, Founder and Owner, Tenco DDM, stated, “Agile MES helps us to optimise our workflow so that our machine efficiency is higher. It also helped us to minimise our paper workflow as the system gives every operator the ability to check all required data, to select the right steps in post processing and to make sure every part is finished in the right way.”
The Agile MES Early Access Program offered core features of the new Agile MES out-of-the-box, based on previous customer requests. Those included smart part prioritisation, schedule overview of production resources and the ability to create custom AM workflows that match the specific processes in each AM service bureau, offering immediate benefits to the programme participants.
To determine their next steps, the customers and product team collaborated to evaluate the existing features and rated the potential benefit of adding different functions against the development time. It was determined that linking and tracking custom workflows all the way through the post-processing value chain had the highest priority; the implementation of an entirely ‘hands-off’ workflow had the highest error-rate and added the most complexity to manage. Having clear tracking documentation also provided the most value for the addition of quality control downstream.
“The Agile MES EAP allowed us to move very quickly from a list of features to a prioritised action plan that we could test directly with AM users. Both our programming team and our customers were full of motivation since we knew the features would be put straight into real-world testing and that both sides would have a large impact on shaping how software can directly address production needs,” stated Daniel Burckhardt, Agile MES Product Owner, 3YOURMIND.
In the first two months, participants improved scheduling accuracy, time estimations and worked on smart rescheduling recommendations to balance order deadlines, material selection and machine capacity. The improvement in quality and tracking was immediately visible, and production engineers also noted that with less time spent scheduling work, they could focus on improving production.
An additional benefit for repeated orders was that all files, part requirements and communication between the users and production engineers, as well as final workflow selections, were stored in a single digital production inventory. The next focus for development will be machine connectivity that includes documentation of production parameters and a software evaluation of that data for quality assurance; this was rated as especially important for service bureaus which produce parts for the medical and aerospace industries.
In the coming months, 3YOURMIND will announce how it will continue to develop additional feature sets for its Agile MES. Currently, as the company turns its focus toward machine connectivity, Stephan Kühr, CEO of 3YOURMIND, plans to enter discussions with manufacturers about integrating their machines into the Agile MES.
“For Agile Manufacturing, the Agile MES will need to both GET and PUSH data from all major AM machines and post-processing systems,” he stated. “We are already integrating the data from several vendors into our software and expect to support all major machines. Receiving and processing machine data allows us to provide the documentation that is needed for quality assurance and to increase the repeatability of Additive Manufacturing. Pushing data directly to machines will be the key to automating production.”