Manufacturing solutions provider Evolve Additive Solutions, a Stratasys spinout headquartered in Minnesota, has announced a partnership with the Siemens Digital Industries Software business unit. The collaboration is aimed at growing Evolve’s automated Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP) technology and optimize it for high-volume additive manufacturing with the global technology company’s Xcelerator AM software. Siemens provides factory automation, digitization, and electrification products, and its Digital Industries Software (formerly PLM) is focused on edge computing as well as automation.
Xcelerator covers the whole 3D printing process with its software and services, from design for additive, generative engineering, process simulation, and production planning to build job preparation, online order management and delivery, and AM operations management.
“We want to take AM production to a whole new level, and partnerships like this are critical,” explained Aaron Frankel, Vice President of the AM Program for Siemens Digital Industries Software. “We’ll be able to leverage the automation capabilities of both companies to deliver customers greater speed, flexibility and repeatability in high-volume additive manufacturing. Evolve’s STEP technology is designed to be integrated into the kind of automated factories Siemens has excelled at delivering.”
In order to accurately align layers and bond them into dense final parts, Evolve’s STEP technology uses a production-scale 2D press for imaging with proprietary IP. The company says that the isotropic properties its 3D printed parts have make its technology comparable to injection molding, and that production-at-scale STEP manufacturing really performs more like 2D printing than 3D printing. STEP powers Evolve’s Scalable Volume Production (SVP) platform, applying polymer onto rollers—just like toner is to 2D paper printers—which really kicks up the speed and helps achieve a high-volume, end-to-end additive manufacturing process.
“Evolve is excited to join Siemens Digital Industries Software’s partner community,” said Steve Chillscyzn, the Founder and CEO of Evolve. “The strength of our two organizations working together can deliver significant value to our customers. This technology partnership can help usher in a true additive platform of Industry 4.0 transformation.”
By partnering with Siemens, Evolve can make its digital AM thread stronger by combining its SVP platform with Siemens Digital Industries Software, which will enable it to automate and connect an AM factory so it’s set up for full-speed, scaled production. Evolve’s printers will leverage the AM software solutions provided by Siemens in order to get end-use parts ready for volume production, generate prints, speed up execution in the factory, manage the production planning process, and monitor all of it in real-time. Siemens Digital Industries Software will also allow Evolve to optimize its build preparation and scheduling tasks.
This new partnership with Siemens isn’t the only news that Evolve is sharing. The company, which is currently accepting orders for its SVP system, announced that it has completed its first commercial sale with a multi-product agreement. Evolve released its STEP-powered SVP platform in Q3 of 2020, and plans to ship the first system to the customer in Q1 of 2021. For the purposes of confidentiality, Evolve cannot disclose the name of the client, or the terms of the sale.
“This global system sale marks a significant milestone in our commercialization. Not only did our first customer purchase the SVP platform but the sale also included software and materials,” Chillscyzn said. “We are very excited to work with this organization and start to see how the use of our technology will streamline their efficiencies, increase profits and provide them with visibility into the utilization across their network.”
The unnamed customer plans to use the SVP system for applications in multicolor capabilities, as well as a large variety of materials.