Using 3D imaging, RIIICO in Aachen, Germany, creates virtual twins of factories, allowing companies to experiment with new layouts. New York-based PrintParts uses innovative, proprietary materials to track specifications and histories for 3D-printed parts using its SmartParts system.
The two digital manufacturing technology companies are winners of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s first cohort of its Sixth Sense accelerator program.
Improve Productivity with Virtual Factory Renovations
RIIICO software takes a 3D scan of a factory, analyzes the scan with artificial intelligence and creates an interactive digital model. Plant owners can either provide their own 3D scans or work with one of RIIICO’s partner companies.
Using a web application, plant owners can drag and drop machines into the model to experiment with new layouts. Solutions that simulate material flow within plants such as Siemens Plant Simulation can then import the RIIICO model.
“These material-flow simulations can then be imported to RIIICO again. This way we can marry all these results of expert software (Simulations, old 2D floorplans, new CAD objects, logistic spaghetti lines) with each other in our front end and give a holistic view on the subject,” says RIIICO Co-Founder and CMO Jan Buchsenschutz.
“We take the ground truth directly from reality. The data might not be as shiny as CAD, but for this it’s accurate and [objects are] located exactly where they are on the factory floor,” Buchsenschutz adds.
Smarter Tracking and Authentication for 3D Printed Parts
SmartParts uses proprietary “data rich” particles to mark 3D printed parts with individual IDs. The programmed particles provide specific wavelength responses, for example receiving and then emitting specific infrared wavelengths, to create the individual ID for the part. The ID information is collected, stored and accessed on the SmartParts SaaS platform.
“Ideally, we embed the particles into the base material when the material is manufactured,” says PrintParts Co-Founder and COO Cody Burke. “That provides true end-to-end traceability by ensuring that the materials, and any parts made with the materials, are scannable from material compounding through to part end-of-life. We also have the ability to add the particles in post-processing to the exterior of a part, in the form of dyes, sprays, and coatings.”
“The end user on the shop level should be able to use materials that have our technology embedded with no change to existing workflows or equipment setups,” Burke continues. “The material manufacturer or OEM providing the materials will work with our team to determine the best way to incorporate the technology, which is a simple and well understood process, not unlike adding a colorant or other material additive.”
Sporting a Sixth Sense for Innovation
Hexagon touts its Sixth Sense open innovation platform, launched in January, is as “a revolutionary approach to the traditional accelerator.” Applicants complete an intensive, eight-week training program on their business model and approach, followed by a final presentation before a panel of judges. The winners gain support from Hexagon including access to its customer base.
“We expect all seven companies from this first cohort will go on to have a significant impact on the future of the manufacturing industry, and we will work with them all in some way; we were incredibly impressed with the strength and creativity of all solutions,” says Parth Joshi, chief product officer and chief technology officer of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.
Praemo, the runner-up to RIIICO and PrintParts, develops a machine learning system called Razor that analyzes data from automation, quality, historians and maintenance systems and helps manufacturers develop lean operations and increased productivity.