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UK University Developing Universal Language For Additive Manufacturing

As companies begin to implement new manufacturing tech into their workflows, more cross-applicability becomes necessary. One of the main problems of creating such a homogenous workflow is that of interchangeable language protocols. Since all systems are quite different, researchers at Huddersfield university are developing a universal language for additive manufacturing systems. This new method would allow heterogenous systems to communicate models without hindering productivity. This could also have massive implications for how multiple companies conduct their file sharing.

“Exchanging computer-aided design (CAD) model data among heterogeneous CAD systems is indispensable for collaborative product development. Currently, the industry mainly uses the standardized neutral files-based methods to implement such exchange.” Said Dr. Qunfen Qi, a research fellow at Huddersfield.

While many means of sharing models and data exist, there is no standard across the board. One of the problems this raises is of consistency of communication. The files do not cross-apply to design platforms, engineering programs and inspection software with equal results. The aim of the research is to analyse these systems and provide a one-size fits all solution.

A Common Tongue for AM Systems

Dr. Qi’s research resulted in the development of a custom language for Rolls-Royce which they use to design and measure surface textures. The research proposed a study of the standardized neutral files-based exchange methods and also OWL file-based exchange methods. It compares the two and the findings show quite a few discrepancies in how they process objects.

Dr. Qi presented the current findings of the research at the 15th CIRP CAT conference in Milan. The research exists in part because Dr. Qi believes the standard stl and obj files to be obsolete. While they may not seem so bad because we’re used to them, there are productivity and efficiency downsides to these formats, aside from their lack of cross-applicability.

So, the research might create a whole new language as a means of improving not just productivity but also power usage and reducing failure rates. It’s also possible, as an alternative, to create translator system that faithfully translates all files between various programs.

Featured image retrieved from University of Huddersfield website.

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