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Groundbreaking tool for estimating 3D printing costs developed by Etteplan

Press release – Published: 21.09.2020 12:00:00

ETTEPLAN, Press release, 21.09.2020 at 12 noon EEST

  • The new, free online tool, called Etteplan AMOTool, calculates the costs of 3D printing and helps industrial companies choose the optimal production method for their components.
  • The development work started by Etteplan was continued thanks to support from Business Finland. 
  • The tool brought significant benefits to large industrial companies already during the pilot phase.

One of the biggest obstacles to the widespread use of 3D printing, i.e. additive manufacturing, is the difficulty in estimating the production costs and potential financial benefits in advance. Etteplan has developed a globally groundbreaking browser-based tool, Etteplan AMOTool, which eliminates the risks and obstacles related to the implementation of production technology.The tool allows companies to calculate the production costs of an object manufactured using a well-established metal 3D printing method quickly, risk-free and at no cost.

“With this tool, our objective is not only to remove a major obstacle, but also to encourage our customers and the entire industry to make use of 3D printing technology and improve the competitiveness of products. The tool makes it possible to compare metal 3D printing with traditional manufacturing methods, ” says Riku Riikonen, Etteplan’s Senior Vice President, Engineering Solutions.

The algorithm behind the tool has been developed and used by Etteplan’s AMO (Additive Manufacturing & Optimization) team for years now. The goal, however, was to achieve a user-friendly tool that could be used by a wider group of users. The final online tool was created with support from Busines Finland in collaboration with Etteplan’s software unit.

“Additive manufacturing (AM) methods, such as 3D printing, open up excellent opportunities for companies to improve their cost-effectiveness and competitiveness. Distributed manufacturing increases operational flexibility, which is particularly valuable during exceptional periods like the one we are experiencing now with the coronavirus. In addition, AM methods help manufacturing companies improve their material efficiency and sustainability. Despite the numerous benefits, however, many companies are still skeptical about the costs involved in using AM. That makes opening up the costs related to AM methods using a calculation service such as Etteplan AMOTool very valuable. We hope that this free cloud service will lower the threshold for companies to try 3D printing to adopt future technologies, ” says Toni Mattila, Director of Business Finland’s Sustainable Manufacturing Finland program.

Unlike existing tools in the market, there are no IPR risks in using AMOTool. The tool works with a browser, but it does not require the 3D model to be uploaded to the cloud. This is an important feature, as companies do not want to upload their IPR-protected information to an outside party’s cloud.

In addition to providing a cost estimate, AMOTool shows how changing the design can improve the product’s or component’s cost effectiveness. The tool also shows whether re-designing is profitable or not, or if the product is unsuitable for 3D printing.

“Assessing the cost level of 3D printing is challenging because with previous methods, a reliable cost estimate is obtained only after the product has already been designed. AMOTool solves this nagging problem. Our tool makes it possible to estimate the price of a 3D-printed product even before starting an engineering project and then determine whether it makes sense to use 3D printing, ” explains Tero Hämeenaho, Etteplan’s AMO Department Manager.

The product now being launched has been under development at Etteplan for three years. Leading industrial companies used AMOTool during the pilot phase with excellent results. The service has already enabled cost assessments for thousands of components and revealed suitable methods for lowering costs by means of 3D printing.

Learn more about Etteplan AMOTool:

Etteplan in brief

Etteplan provides solutions for industrial equipment and plant engineering, software and embedded solutions and technical documentation solutions to the world’s leading companies in the manufacturing industry. Our services are geared to improve the competitiveness of our customers’ products, services and engineering processes throughout the product life cycle. The results of Etteplan’s innovative engineering can be seen in numerous industrial solutions and everyday products. In 2019, Etteplan had a turnover of approximately EUR 263 million. The company currently has over 3,400 professionals in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and China. Etteplan’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd under the ETTE ticker.