The innovative way of servicing machines

Powerfuse S additive manufacturing machine
With Virtual Training Solutions, Siemens and DyeMansion rely on an economical service concept for the additive manufacturing industry.

Additive manufacturing is a highly innovative and fast growing industry – worldwide. To keep up with servicing, you can either send technicians around the globe or search for new, innovative ways of service delivery, like DyeMansion and Siemens. With Virtual Training Solutions they opened up a whole new world of opportunities for servicing in the additive manufacturing industry.

Additive manufacturing – an innovative and challenging industry

The pace of additive manufacturing innovations accelerates daily. That’s why the additive manufacturing industry is one of the quickest growing industries worldwide. Why? Because the equipment needed is less costly and way more efficient. New materials allow parts that rival and often exceed the properties of those more traditionally made. No wonder why there are more and more machine builders who engage with 3D printing.

But with the growing interest in additive manufacturing, it is getting increasingly difficult for end-customers to choose the right supplier. Easily said: They have to separate the wheat from the chaff.

That’s why end customers are more and more searching for reliable partners instead of just the right supplier for equipment. Not just in order to ensure high availability, but also for enabling a continuous optimization of operations in regard to Industry 4.0.

World-class additive manufacturing

DyeMansion is the global leader in post-processing solutions for industrial polymer 3D-printing. Their end-to-end solution turns 3D-printed raw parts into high-value products. From perfect fit eyewear to personalized car interiors, DyeMansion technology makes 3D-printed products a part of our everyday life.

Reduced cost per part, unmatched quality, and high sustainability are core values that drive each innovation of this fast-growing tech company. Their systems are applicable for Industry 4.0 and are ready for seamless integration into various production processes.

The goal: Being at the customers site without having to go there

When DyeMansion started to partner with Siemens in November 2020 to drive the industrialization of Additive Manufacturing, one of the first actions was creating a digital reference factory based on Siemens and DyeMansion technology for an industrial footwear production using additive manufacturing.

The VaporFuse surfacing machine Powerfuse S, which was part of digital reference factory, was then integrated physically in the Siemens Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (AMEC) in Erlangen. The Powerfuse S is an eco-friendly and industrial vapor polishing system that delivers sealed, injection molded like surfaces on 3D-printed plastics. VaporFuse Surfacing is primarily used for applications that require functional properties like improved airtightness, water-repellency, or bacteria growth inhibition. The system works with an eco-friendly solvent approved for the processing of plastics with food contact.

During implementation the question arised: How can we make sure that we complete all maintenance and servicing measures within the planned maintenance spots without being depended on DyeMansion each time?

As a strongly growing company selling hardware to Additive Manufacturing users with highest requirements worldwide, we have to make sure that we are at our customers site no matter where they are and what they need. Without compromises.
Philipp Kramer, CTO & Co-Founder of DyeMansion

Since there are more and more regions and customers coming along, an effective solution for servicing everyone at the right time is needed, also those with a low installed base and a low frequency of service calls – and without the need of service technicians traveling around the world.

And something else came up: “Usually, our service technicians travel around the world to make sure our machines are running at the end-customer's site. But as we all experienced lately, there are unpredictable situations which makes it quite impossible to be there no matter what,” explains Kramer.

This was the initial trigger to deepen the cooperation between DyeMansion and Siemens. The goal: Developing a new innovative servicing concept by combining Siemens’ automation and services expertise with DyeMansion's strong expertise in additive manufacturing.

VR operator training for higher productivity

No sooner said than done: In January 2021 the project team of Siemens and DyeMansion experts sat together virtually in a workshop session and discussed the cornerstones of a virtual operator training for servicing the Powerfuse S based on Virtual Training Solutions. The team focused maintenance tasks that make the servicing of the machine as efficient as possible – for both DyeMansion and Siemens.

Since oil exchange is very crucial for smooth operation of any machine and can often be done by the end-customer – in this case Siemens – the team decided to use this as the first use-case to be developed for the virtual training experience.

Virtual training for tangible results

Based on the delivered CAD data of the machine and the existing process description of the maintenance use case the project team created the first virtual operator training within just two days.

The so-called 3D service instructions were programmed for use either on desktop PCs, tablets, or other mobile devices – wherever, whenever and from whomever needed.

Whomever? This means that the service training instructions come with different difficulty and use-case levels. It doesn’t matter if you are a new employee who needs to be trained, a service partner from overseas or an end-customer who wants to perform the servicing on their own. Just set use-case and knowledge level and you are set to go with the virtual training solution.

Continuous optimization of the virtual training experience

And this should not be the only 3D service training instruction for very long. During the development phase the project team identified already a second use case which could be easily implemented and used by any Powerfuse S operator: The replacement of the solvent that is needed for vapor polishing.

In addition, Siemens is currently developing an own virtual training platform for end-customers based on the Azure cloud, if OEMs do not have an own virtual training solution available.

With Additive Manufacturing being a true digital manufacturing technology, digitalization is one of the key elements to making it successful. With Siemens we found a partner with high commitment towards meeting all Industry 4.0 requirements and a strong focus in the industrial 3D printing.”
Philipp Kramer, CTO & Co-Founder of DyeMansion

New opportunities for everyone

This use case is a win-win for both parties: DyeMansion and Siemens. Sven Balze, Lead Engineer at Siemens puts it in a nutshell: “With Virtual Training Solutions we usually were focused on assembly trainings for easy or complex production lines rather than on servicing instructions. With this innovative and open-minded cooperation, we were able to try out a new business model focusing on trainings for Original Equipment Manufacturers. This opens a new market for us.”