American 3D printer OEM Carbon has bought ParaMatters, developer of generative design software. The move marks the first acquisition of the California-based photopolymer 3D printing specialist.
The purchase of ParaMatter extends the topology optimization capabilities of Carbon’s software offerings so that users can create better products in less time. Co-founder Phil DeSimone says the company, using its enhanced program portfolio, will now be able to close a market gap for a modern design platform that allows users to take full advantage of 3D printing in new product iterations.
“We recognize the critical role software design tools play in our customers’ digital transformation,” said DeSimone. “For far too long, designers have settled for software design tools that meet the constraints of traditional manufacturing. Many design tools of yesteryear are not optimized to take advantage of industrial innovations, including advanced 3D printing materials and manufacturing processes.”
Digital Light Synthesis Technology
Based in California, Carbon is a developer of 3D printers, materials and software that revolve around its Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology. The process works by using Digital Light Projection and oxygen permeable optics to cure polymer resins in parts. To facilitate the production of products with engineering grade mechanical properties, materials used with Carbon systems are typically embedded with heat activated programmable chemicals.
The performance of Carbon’s machine portfolio, which currently includes the M1, M2, recent M3 and large format L1 3D printer, is also optimized by the software offering. Earlier this year, the company launched the Carbon Design Engine, a program aimed at helping automate the process of developing lattice components.
Carbon says its Design Engine’s powerful cloud-based computational tools can generate advanced conformal grids in minutes, characterized by impressive impact absorption properties. With the acquisition, the company is now poised to broaden the capabilities of its software and the addressable market, with Paramatters CogniCAD users including Google, Renishaw, Volkswagen and more.
Carbon’s comprehensive software offering
According to Carbon, most software platforms used for design and manufacturing are typically programmed to address the limitations imposed by traditional manufacturing methods. As a result, such programs, whether designed to optimize injection molding, molding or subtractive manufacturing processes, do not allow users to iterate products as quickly as they could with 3D printing.
Notably, the company says traditional CAD and CAE tools are “clunky and inefficient” while being “poorly integrated with each other.” Because these tools are specifically optimized for use with additive manufacturing, Carbon also claims that they require a high level of expertise to operate and ultimately lead to waste.
As such, the company views the acquisition as a means of satisfying a market need. Building on the Carbon Design Engine, the purchase of Paramatters expanded the software’s topology optimization capabilities. It is believed that this will unlock the automated creation of more complex, higher-performing parts.
In practice, the company’s revised program will include a five-step workflow that will allow users to move through design analysis, validation and CT scan stages in a way that should improve part manufacturability. With the addition of ParaMatters’ technology, Carbon believes its software’s manufacturing, inspection and post-production simulation functions can also unlock parts consolidation capabilities.
“Software is the backbone of our idea-to-production platform and we believe ParaMatters’ generative design capabilities are an important extension of our design software,” added Craig Carlson, Carbon CTO. “By extending our software capabilities optimized for additive manufacturing, we are enabling a generation of designers and developers to create better end-use products with advanced geometries and improved performance characteristics.”
Topology optimization software allows users to quickly iterate designs based on defined parameter sets for different manufacturing processes, and the technology continues to gain ground in 3D printing as well. For example, nTopology’s generative design platform, which allows users to bypass the limitations of conventional design tools, will be enhanced by new technical DFAM tools.
Another option for those looking for an accessible way to expose designs that reduce weight, increase structural integrity and extend durability at a reduced price, there is also the Generative Design Extension for Autodesk Fusion 360. ParaMatters software, the program is marketed as being able to enable part consolidation while identifying material and other cost saving opportunities.
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Featured image shows a set of 3D printed parts designed using ParaMatters’ CogniCAD software. Image via ParaMatters.