Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has introduced on the market Nexus, a digital reality platform co-engineered with Microsoft that would enable global teams to collaborate in real-time across the product lifecycle – from design and engineering to production and quality – the ultimate goal being to solve design and manufacturing problems together and faster. The development of this solution comes from an observation that has often been highlighted by major software providers: processes and data sources are often siloed and team members struggle to collaborate across disciplines.
The opportunities delivered by Nexus somehow make us think of Materialise’ CO-AM platform that facilitates management of the additive manufacturing (AM) production process. Nexus helps the engineer to connect equipment, data and processes on an open-cloud platform to foster better-informed decisions. Just like the CO-AM platform integrates third-party solutions, Nexus integrates Hexagon’s portfolio of hundreds of design and engineering, production, and metrology software applications and devices, as well as third-party technologies.
Solutions that are already available, include Metrology Reporting, a Nexus App; Materials Connect, a Nexus App; Materials Enrich, a Nexus App as well as Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), a Nexus Solution.
Specifications of each solution
With a focus on metal 3D printing, Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), a Nexus Solution helps teams to jointly develop an optimal metal 3D-printed part and prepare it for a successful print using the laser powder bed fusion (PBF) process. Customers can use the Nexus web interface to connect Hexagon’s MSC Apex Generative Design and Simufact Additive process simulation software with AM Studio from CADS Additive and Materials Connect via the cloud, and easily manage user access to projects.
Processes such as DfAM have traditionally been siloed – with at least three different engineers and separate software applications solving problems in isolation. This lack of connectivity can lead to costly and time-consuming manual processes and loss of valuable data. With Nexus, these silos are dismantled so that every engineer involved in the process is able to access the desktop software they need and connect their tools to work through problems together, in real-time, in a way that has never before been achieved in the industry.
Nexus will enable users to build on their existing portfolio of technologies by promoting the discovery of new tools, training, and support across an unparalleled portfolio of software and hardware from Hexagon and its partner ecosystem. At launch, partners include Oqton, which will connect DfAM and similar pre-production workflows to its Manufacturing Execution System (MES), allowing customers to leverage data to improve lead times, address quality issues and empower operators. Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software company Altium will also connect its portfolio to Nexus to provide engineers greater insight with which to design and manufacture products with electronic systems.
“We are very excited to partner with Hexagon to connect our Altium 365 platform with Nexus – our shared commitment to openness means we can quickly offer customers value. It will enable our vision of an ‘Intelligent by Design’, industry solution empowering teams to evaluate the impact of design choices earlier using the vast intelligence that Nexus and our Altium 365 solutions ecosystem offer across the product lifecycle”, Ben Schrauwen, Founder and SVP, Oqton comments.
As far as other solutions of the platform are concerned, it should be noted that:
Metrology Reporting, a Nexus App connects Hexagon and third-party metrology data sources in Nexus’ secure cloud environment so that companies of all sizes can immediately report on previously untapped quality control data from their equipment to spot trends and identify tolerance issues. Any user can generate interactive three-dimensional CAD-based reports and insightful trend plots, KPIs and compliance documentation and up-to-the-minute data with colleagues, customers or suppliers.
Materials Connect, a Nexus App is an all-new, cloud-based library for material data, that empowers manufacturers or material suppliers to manage material data, physical test data and behaviour models for use in product Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) workflows.
Materials Enrich, a Nexus App uses the Nexus platform’s machine learning capabilities and cloud-accelerated material behaviour simulations to help users find and simulate optimal materials that may have never been made or measured, improving the performance and sustainability of their products.
These four solutions can be accessed and managed through the Nexus web interface, with a single login and user experience. Customers can invite any external user to the platform to share information, for example sharing up to date ‘live’ metrology trend reports up and down the supply chain with one click. As more Apps and Solutions are connected to Nexus, it will make it easier for companies to make improvements to how they work and to solve problems with colleagues in the same company or across the supply chain.
Nexus is designed to help companies of all sizes, making the benefits of the cloud accessible without prohibitive cost, lengthy system integration or IT expense. There is no requirement to “move to cloud” as the platform connects desktop and cloud tools together, and, because customers only need to share the data that their team members need, performance is optimised and intellectual property is protected at every step. The platform’s open architecture allows larger companies to connect teams using Nexus with their enterprise software platforms, maintaining their established business and regulatory processes whilst enriching the digital thread where required with missing data, a press release states.
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