Key to the industrialization of additive manufacturing (AM) is the use of simulation software at various steps in the 3D printing process. Computer aided engineering (CAE) giants have begun tackling this niche at a number of levels, with in-house software and connections to third-party AM simulation apps. Traditional packages tend to be expensive and limited in their scope, however, leaving plenty of opportunity for enterprising startups to offer their own solutions. Among them is Paanudv Applications, which has released AM PravaH, which it describes as affordable and all-inclusive tool for AM simulation.
About AM PravaH
Primarily serving the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), AM PravaH is designed to capture the complex multi-scale physics associated with AM processes. The software relies on a holistic approach to physics, which takes into account such effects as recoil pressure, buoyancy, the Marangoni effect, heat and mass transfer, phase change, vaporization, condensation, thermodynamics, and laser dynamics. All combined, the tool is able to create simulations that factor in these effects.
Other features include a custom scan track and multiple layer simulation capabilities. Monte Carlo simulations and Discrete Element Methods allow for a comprehensive understanding of grain evolution. Additionally, AM PravaH relies on an artificial intelligence module to better utilize AM data, meant to aid in decision-making regarding alloy selection and process parameters.
In terms of performance, AM PravaH is fully CPU and GPU parallelized for high-speed processing. A user-friendly graphical user interface is meant to cater specifically to the needs of AM researchers and operators.
The Market for 3D Printing Simulation
Simulation is key for LPBF specifically because of the complex variables at work during the 3D printing process, which can result in cracks, pores, and other deformations to what is an already expensive part. By anticipating the printing process and potentially deforming a 3D printed component, it’s possible to prevent the production of failed parts. It’s no surprise then that simulation represents a sizable chunk of the roughly $1 billion AM software market, which is growing at a rate of 25 percent, according to the “Opportunities in Additive Manufacturing Software Markets 2023” report from SmarTech Analysis.
Paanudv is one of just a handful of businesses that have developed simulation software specifically for AM. More importantly, those firms that do pursue this niche are either the large CAE companies themselves or have been acquired by CAE businesses or 3D printer manufacturers themselves.
For instance, GE Additive offers its own Amp platform, while 3D Systems acquired Additive Works, Markforged purchased Teton Simulation, and Carbon took on Paramatters. ANSYS purchased 3DSIM to develop its offering for AM. Hexagon has its own simulation software via MSC, but also offers access to third-party apps through its Nexus ecosystem. Autodesk has also been developing an in-house simulation tool but has not dedicated as much to 3D printing as it had under former CEO Carl Bass.
All of this suggests that, though there are simulation offerings in the marketplace, there is room for an affordable and inclusive solution tailored to 3D printing. With AM PravaH, Paanudv aims to make high-end computational software accessible to a broader audience. The software’s license cost does not depend on processor count, making it an economical choice for AM researchers. The team is working to expand the software’s applicability, with future plans to model other 3D printing processes such as fused deposition modeling and direct energy deposition (DED).
While Paanudv could stand on its own, the number of acquisitions in the simulation space implies that it could also be acquired either by a machine manufacturer that wants to ensure the best use of its equipment while generating a software subscription from users or a CAD company that lacks a strong simulation offering.