Hybrid releases AM software beta

AMIS, which is part of Hybrid Software, has just released a public beta of its AMIS Pro v1 software for additive manufacturing. This is a production workflow program that’s targeted at companies that are actively building a 3D printer and looking for help with the software. 

Hybrid Software set up an additive manufacturing business unit last year, initially offering consultancy services. This was rebranded to AMIS at the start of this year with a move into software development. Essentially the aim is to develop production workflow software for 3D printing in a similar vein to the RIP and Digital Front End software that Hybrid Software already sells to the commercial print and packaging markets. Hybrid Software is itself part of the Hybrid Software Group, which also includes Meteor Inkjet, Global Graphics and iC3D, so it has plenty of expertise to draw on in terms of handling CAD files and driving digital printers.

AMIS has opted to concentrate its efforts on inkjet-based 3D printers, since it is working with Meteor Inkjet, which mainly develops electronic drive systems for inkjet printheads. Meteor has developed its own MetPrint software, which includes an interface and sends print data directly to the inkjet printheads, as well as Met3D, which converts 3D files to Meteor- compatible slices. This includes ShellPro for optimising the slicing which I’ve previously covered here.

For now, the AMIS Pro software mainly concentrates on binder jetting, which involves jetting just the adhesive fluid that’s then used to build objects from the powdered material. Kris Binon, XYZ manager for AMIS, explains: “We’ve designed the software with a workflow logic in mind. Which steps does the person in charge of preparing builds take? What tools does he need under his fingers at which point in time? That in itself differentiates our product, as well as the injection of decades of experience producing industrial jetting software.”

The beta software can take CAD files and produce a print-ready output. It includes the elements needed to combine parts together in batches for printing, including adding the parts to a batch or print box, positioning, orienting and scaling those parts as well as nesting of them together. It can then slice the batch and create output for a printer. There are some additional functions, such as saving and reopening batches, defining layer thickness and setting up printers.

Binon says the system will also offer maintenance and service diagnostics, noting: “We do aim at direct cooperation with machine builders indeed, also with that reason in mind. As we can connect to the core of the machine, we can add value for both users and printer OEMs, in both directions: preparing the best possible build for a specific machine, and the best possible feedback from the machine, allowing the user to make the best decisions.”

For output, AMIS Pro works with Meteor’s MetPrint software, as Binon explains: “For now, we hand off a print-ready file to the printer control, and we have this seamlessly in place for MetPrint. We’re ready to also connect with other systems, and future AMIS Pro versions will leverage this connection – allowing for more direct I/O communication between software and systems.”

This in turn assumes that the early adopters will be machine builders that are already working with Meteor Inkjet’s drive electronics for the printheads for this first beta. It’s worth noting that there are only a tiny handful of companies with the necessary level of expertise for driving inkjet heads, and that the Hybrid Software Group is already exploiting synergies between Meteor Inkjet’s customers and those for its RIP and DFE software.

Binon says the reason for issuing the public beta is that although there’s a clear roadmap for the next 30 or so features, it would be better to develop and implement these with the customers to incorporate their feedback. He adds: “The idea is to stay close to anyone testing our software, so we can assist them along the way, and they can guide us with the next steps. Newer versions will anyway become available during these 60 days.”

Nick De Roeck, CEO of AMIS as well as co-president of Hybrid Software, notes: “When meeting OEM’s and end-users, we‘ve established that even the current version would add value to some of them. From here onwards, we’ll continue implementing the 30+ additional features on our roadmap. For quite some of those, we can leverage technology provided by our parent company, Hybrid Software Group.”.

Binon concludes: “The jetting technology as well as market needs are remarkably similar for the 2D- and 3D-printing worlds in which we operate. As for the technology, after all, it is also about RIP’ing and getting those droplets out. It’s also about substrate, ‘inks’ and preparing jobs…”

The AMIS Pro 1 Public Beta will be available for a free 60-day trial starting today 6 May from amispro.be, where you can also find further details on this company. The software should be commercially available in time for the Formnext show in November of this year.



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