The key to scalable growth is having secure, repeatable processes that allow you to do more in less time because you’re not running risks of making critical mistakes. Repeatability in Additive Manufacturing (AM) means less waste, scrap, and rework. It also reduces the amount of post-processing work that needs to be done. When you have a repeatable process that produces high-quality builds, you can streamline your workflow and make your process more efficient. This makes everything more profitable.
Inconsistency Leads to Added Costs
AM technology brings about a host of benefits for manufacturers: innovation, part consolidation, energy savings, reduced waste, reduced time to market, lightweight parts, lower tooling costs, the ability to produce most complex geometries, and agility. It can also save time and money. However, none of these benefits can be realized if manufacturers don’t have a repeatable process for consistent quality.
Here are two examples:
- Inconsistent results are the top concern for AM companies that see higher variations in results in print components compared to wrought parts. This leads to more post-processing, which is both time-consuming and expensive.
- Since AM builds layer upon layer, a nonconformance in the first layer can be covered up by subsequent layers. Without the right software to manage the quality control, you might not discover the issue until the part and testing have been completed, which leads to scrap, waste, and rework.
Consistency and repeatability in Additive Manufacturing are crucial but can be elusive without the right tools.
How Bluestreak | Bright AM Manages the AM Production Pathway
Bluestreak | Bright AM is a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Quality Management System (QMS) designed exclusively for the unique challenges of the Additive Manufacturing industry. Bluestreak | Bright AM tracks the processes of disparate parts that are 3D printed together on a single build plate, as well as everything from incoming orders to work in progress and delivery confirmation.
- Real-time control of 3D-printed parts to reduce nonconformance and scrap
- Intelligent part planning
- Unique serial numbers for each part
- Tracking every serial number through the entire process
- Flagging and tracking nonconformances
- Tracking real-time splitting/combining parts in operational steps to optimize shop floor routing
- Tying quality control directly to individual operators on the production floor
- Real-time communication, including notification through text or email of relevant job functions of triggering events
These are just a few of the ways that Bluestreak | Bright AM manages the workflow from the office to the shop floor. Other functions, such as Advanced Control & Sampling Plans, Statistical Process Control, Risk Analysis, Advanced Specifications Manager, Production Pathway, and Quote to Invoice/Work Order Management, also help manage the workflow for consistent results.
Managing Standardization and Compliance
Many of the complex geometries being built using an AM process by manufacturers must be built to strict requirements. In highly regulated industries, such as medical, automotive, aerospace, or defense, standardization and repeatability are essential.
Bluestreak | Bright AM can also track and show revision control with key documents. This helps create the complete audit trail that manufacturers need for compliance. It can store employee information, including photos and training requirements for production processes and safety.
Managing In-House Captive Departments
Bluestreak | Bright AM aids repeatability in Additive Manufacturing for companies that have in-house captive departments handling the following:
- Heat treating
- Powder coating
- Liquid coating
- Surface Finishing
Considering an ERP System?
If you are thinking about using an ERP system as part of your Additive Manufacturing process, you should know that they don’t always work effectively with AM processes. It won’t provide the precise production control that you need for consistency.
Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
For small and medium-sized businesses, an ERP can be overkill. It will be an expensive investment and won’t address all your consistency concerns regarding repeatability in Additive Manufacturing. Bluestreak | Bright AM can handle your AM processes without the added expense of an ERP.
For larger businesses that already have an ERP system in place but need better production control, Bluestreak | Bright AM can easily be integrated to give you the quality control you need to improve repeatability in Additive Manufacturing. When a job is entered into the ERP, it communicates with Bluestreak | Bright AM and generates a custom work order. This helps eliminate extra steps, data entry mistakes, and other human errors.
Larger businesses that do not have an ERP system will benefit from using Bluestreak | Bright AM instead.
Improve Repeatability in Additive Manufacturing: The Future of AM is Bright
Currently being used by some of the world’s largest Additive Manufacturing production facilities, Bluestreak | Bright AM has the built-in functionality required for the rigors of AM that other MES, QMS, ERP, and MRP systems lack.
Bluestreak | Bright AM gives manufacturers the capability and functionality they need for better control and detailed audit trails and documentation, and it ensures compliance with the most demanding specifications and production guidelines that are unique to AM.
This helps create more consistent workflows and improves repeatability in Additive Manufacturing.
If your service includes Additive Manufacturing, we provide specific solutions in our Bright AM software. To request an Additive Manufacturing software demo, click here!