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AI-Based Digital Manufacturing in the U.S.

Scientists and engineers are constantly creating new materials with unique properties that can be used for 3D printing but figuring out how to print with these materials can be a difficult and expensive problem. Often, an expert operator must use manual trial-and-error to determine ideal parameters that consistently print a new material effectively over thousands of prints. These parameters include printing speed and the amount of material deposited by the printer.

Hence, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has now used artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up this process. They created a machine-learning system that uses computer vision to monitor the manufacturing process and correct errors in how the material is handled in real-time.

The project is the first demonstration of building a manufacturing system that uses machine learning to learn a complex control policy, according to senior author Wojciech Matusik, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

They applied the controller to a real 3D printer after using simulations to teach a neural network how to change the printing parameters to reduce error. Compared to all other 3D printing controllers, their system produced objects more accurately.

The researchers created a machine-vision system using two cameras pointed at the nozzle of the 3D printer to measure what was happening on the printer in real-time. The system illuminates the material as it is deposited and determines the thickness of the material based on how much light passes through.

Once the controller has processed the images it has received from the vision system, it will change the printer’s direction and feed rate in response to any errors it finds.

However, creating millions of prints to train a neural network-based controller to comprehend this manufacturing process is data-intensive. So instead, the researchers created a simulator.

They employed a technique called reinforcement learning to train their controller, which teaches a model by rewarding it when it makes a mistake. The model was tasked with choosing printing settings that would produce a specific object in a virtual setting. The model was awarded when the parameters it selected minimised the error between its print and the anticipated result after being given the predicted result.

An “error” in this context means that the model either dispensed too much material, filling in spaces that should have remained empty, or not enough material, leaving spaces that needed to be filled in. The model improved its control policy to maximise the reward as it ran more simulated prints, increasing its accuracy.

Conditions typically alter because of minute fluctuations or printing process noise. So, the researchers developed a numerical model that roughly represents 3D printer noise. They utilised this approach to simulate noise, which produced more accurate outcomes.

The controller produced items more accurately than any other approach examined. It excelled at infill printing or printing an object’s interior. Other controllers deposited so much material that the printed item bulged, but the researchers’ controller altered the printing direction. The control policy may learn how materials spread and change parameters.

Researchers intend to develop controllers for various production processes using this 3D printing approach. They want to know how to modify the approach for printing numerous layers or materials at once. Their method was based on the idea that each material has a fixed viscosity, or “syrupiness.” However, a future version could use AI to recognise and change viscosity in real-time.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.