Category Archives: standards

Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM

The final project report from the feasibility study led by Dr Eujin Pei at Brunel University is now online. Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM describes results of the work undertaken during the 2015-16 feasibility study conducted by Dr Pei and Dr Malte Ressin, with the results of the study feeding into ISO’s Technical Committee 261 on additive manufacturing.

Abstract

Additive Manufacturing is set to play a vital role in the Re-Distributed Manufacturing landscape. The paradigm shift towards a decentralised approach of cloud manufacturing and dynamic production requires tighter standardisation and efficient interfaces between CAD data and Additive Manufacturing. In parallel with technology advancements, it is important to consider the digital chain of information. Although a plethora of CAD formats exist, only some are used for data transfer. The problem is that a true CAD data transfer standard for a 3DP-RDM ecosystem does not exist.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of CAD data transfer standards within the 3DP-RDM landscape. It aims to investigate the impact of CAD data transfer standards within the 3DP-RDM landscape and identify required features in existing standards. The study was set up by first examining the data flow from CAD to 3D printing and reviewing established shortcomings of existing data transfer standards. Further
after identifying the data transfer standards AMF, 3MF, STEP and STEP-NC as upcoming and promising replacements, their premises, objectives, contributions and advantages were reviewed. Finally, the role of 3D printing in setting up re-distributed manufacturing by overcoming tooling costs and the associated economies of scale were reviewed.

Because the aims of this research touch both on sociotechnical aspects, i.e. the impact of standards on future manufacturing, and on more technical aspects, i.e. information requirements for future standards, in this study qualitative and quantitative approaches were combined to answer the research question. Focus group interviews and a survey were conducted with 3DP and RDM experts from both industry and academia. Participants’ accounts were analysed for common themes and narratives. The suitability of existing data transfer formats was examined by compiling existing and expected standard features and rating them through the AM industry and experts.

Results show the expected requirements on future 3DP-RDM data transfer standards as well as their benefits, in particular with regards to manufacturing processes of 3DP service providers, but also for customer concerns such as privacy. The study shows that the STEP-NC and AMF standards are ahead in implementing the most highly valued data transfer features. Open standards are expected to further facilitate innovation in 3DP.

This study is intended to contribute to an evaluation of existing standards and their future development and adoption. It is hoped that the results will benefit policy makers and industry leaders to be aware of the importance of data exchange standards for AM so as to pave a clear roadmap for the digital economy in RDM manufacturing.

[Image source: Eujin Pei]

Advertisements

Report from Joint ISO/ASTM standardisation meeting

The following report comes from Dr Eujin Pei and Dr Malte Ressin of the 3DP-RDM Data Transfer Standard feasibility study. Contact them if you’d like to learn more.

From 25 to 28 January 2016, we attended the joint ISO/ASTM standardisation meeting in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA. This was the third event of the International Organisation for Standardisation that we attended for the 3DP-RDM feasibility study. It was an opportunity to meet new faces and to also continue and update conversations and discussions on the future of 3DP-RDM with key experts in the area.

The main event for us was the session of ISO TC261 WG4 which is responsible for design- and data-related aspects of standardisation for Additive Manufacturing. Dr Eujin Pei, the Principal Investigator of the 3DP-RDM feasibility study, is also the Convenor of this working group. Key points of the meeting were the future inclusion of 4D printing, the development of design rules guide for 3D printing, and an updated presentation on data transfer standards for AM.

During the meeting, members of WG4 discussed the current state of adoption of the AMF standard in different software packages and the continued adoption across different industries. We also listened to the results of an ad-hoc group examining the current status of general 3DP data representation standards. This included a comparison of the existing standards AMF, STEP and STEP-NC and the concluding recommendation was to examine the data requirements of 3DP.

The session further offered an opportunity to compare the ongoing standardisation work in 3DP with the development of the STEP-NC program, which follows a similar, yet conceptually different approach of data standardisation by standardising the control codes of manufacturing machines, starting with those for subtractive manufacturing, but now slowly entering the AM area as well.

In this context, we used the opportunity to present our own ongoing research, our chosen methods and preliminary results of investigating the impact of data transfer standards in the context of 3DP-RDM. We were able to conduct a number of interesting discussions around our research project, giving us further insights into how 3DP experts see the future of 3DP in the larger landscape of manufacturing, and confirming the general interest of both academia and practice in a continued development of 3DP data transfer standards for the future. The next joint ASTM F42 and ISO TC261 meeting will take place in July 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.

[Image source]

The Future of Data Transfer Standards for Additive Manufacturing: Insights from an ISO Meeting in Berlin

Eujin Pei, lead on the 3DP-RDM feasibility study “Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM” is a guest contributor for this post. The delay in publishing is mine – apologies.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee for Additive Manufacture (ISO TC261) held its 6th Plenary Meeting in Berlin on 14th July 2015 and I chaired the Working Group 4 session.

It was a productive session where we invited members of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM F42) to participate in discussions related to Design and Data Transfer guidelines. This is in line with earlier agreements for ISO and ASTM to form joint plans for Additive Manufacturing standards development to ensure that we have aligned standard roadmaps common to ISO TC261 and ASTM F42.

During the WG4 meeting, I presented the 3DP-RDM project. It was well received by the committee members and we discussed the changing manufacturing landscape with the advent of Cloud Manufacturing, De-centralised Production and the plethora of CAD data standards. We discussed the purpose of the 3DP-RDM work, which is to investigate the interfaces between machine systems and to understand the digital chain of information.

We reviewed the AFNOR (Association Française de Normalisation) document that outlined existing data exchange standards for Additive Manufacturing consisting of ISO/DIS 17296-4 “Additive Manufacturing – Rapid Technologies Part 4: Data Processing” that covers principal considerations for data exchange and AM data workflow. The ISO/ASTM 52915:2013 document on “Additive Manufacturing File Format (AMF)” describes a framework for this file format for Additive Manufacturing; and ISO/DIS 10303-242 on “Industrial automation systems and integration – Product data representation and exchange – Part 242” is a STEP standard that will replace AP203 (mechanical parts and assemblies) and AP214 (automotive mechanical design processes). Finally, ISO 14649-17 and 171 on “Industrial automation systems and integration – Physical device control – Data model for computerized numerical controllers – Part 17: Additive Manufacturing” defines a new STEP-NC data model being adapted for Additive Manufacturing requirements.

We also discussed existing and new file formats from leading vendors such as Adobe that offers 3D Printing support in the form of a 3D PDF file or SVX format, or as 3D printer profile files (3PP files). The committee also recognised that Microsoft and Autodesk have been strongly advocating a new .3MF format with their 3MF Consortium.

Alain Bernard, reported on the adhoc group activities that include investigating existing formats such as AMF, STEP, STEP-NC and 3MF, with key questions such as what is the aim of the standard? What problem is being solved? At what stage of the manufacturing process does it apply and what is the status of the standard being adopted in the industry? The committee agreed that the findings would contribute to the 3DP-RDM work and we were informed that there would be an ISO/TC 184/SC 4 Meeting in October 18-23 2015 taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

There would be a Digital Manufacturing Day on 21st October that would include a workshop on digital manufacturing to investigate standards for “wiring up” the digital manufacturing world. Questions such as how are we going to communicate design requirements? What will be expected of the supply chain and how will we make 3D data for the new advanced machines will be discussed during the symposium. We have seen a greater interest in the future of data transfer standards for Additive Manufacturing and we welcome your input through informal discussions.

For more information please contact Dr Eujin Pei, Convenor ISO TC261/WG4

Introducing the 3DP-RDM Feasibility Studies: Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM

Following the recent feasibility study competition, the 3DP-RDM network is funding four projects in 2015. In this series of blog posts we introduce the four studies. Today we begin with the first study, “Investigating the Impact of CAD Data Transfer Standards for 3DP-RDM”, which is being led by Dr Eujin Pei (pictured) at Brunel University.

Additive Manufacturing is set to play a vital role in the Re-Distributed Manufacturing landscape. The paradigm shift towards a decentralised approach of cloud manufacturing and dynamic production requires tighter standardisation and efficient interfaces between CAD data and Additive Manufacturing. In parallel with technology advancements, it is important to consider the digital chain of information. Although a plethora of CAD formats exist, only some are used for data transfer. The problem is that a true CAD data transfer standard for a 3DP-RDM ecosystem does not exist. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of CAD data transfer standards within the 3DP-RDM landscape.

This will be achieved in three phases. In the first phase, a literature review will be conducted to understand the data flow from CAD to the process of Additive Manufacturing. In the second phase, we will examine AMF, STEP and STEP-NC formats that are most widely adopted and to investigate the advantages, disadvantages, similarities and differences of these standards. In the final phase, we will interview industry leaders and experts to obtain feedback. Through this survey, we aim to identify the beneficiaries of 3DP-RDM CAD data transfer standards; and which CAD data transfer standard has the greatest competitive advantage for a future 3DP-RDM landscape. We will also investigate the opportunities and requirements for open architecture data transfer standards.

About Eujin

Eujin works as a full-time academic within the Department of Design at Brunel University in the UK. He is the Convenor for the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Technical Committee for Data and Design Guidelines for Additive Manufacture; and Committee Member for British Standards Institution (BSI) AMT/8 for Additive Manufacturing, and BS8888 and BS8887. He is the Associate Editor for the Journal of Assembly Automation, and a Guest Editor for an upcoming Special Issue of the Rapid Prototyping Journal. For further information about this project or to engage in the feasibility study please contact him.