Apr 24, 2017 | By Benedict

SAP SE, a market leader in enterprise application software headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, has today launched SAP Distributed Manufacturing, a new application that will “make 3D printing a seamless part of digital manufacturing,” at Hannover Messe 2017.

Expect to hear lots of exciting industrial news from Germany this week, because Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial fair, has just kicked off. Earlier today we covered Siemens’ plans to create a new online platform for on-demand 3D printing, and we’ve just heard about another exciting additive manufacturing development, this time from German software company SAP SE. While Siemens’ and SAP’s announcements are not formally connected, there are some interesting parallels between the two.

German software company SAP, initially founded in the 1970s by IBM engineers, has announced the launch of SAP Distributed Manufacturing, a new application resulting from “co-innovation with customers and service providers” that aims to make 3D printing a seamless part of digital manufacturing. The application will function as “collaborative environment that standardizes industrial preproduction and approval,” connecting engineering design and procurement teams with 3D printing service providers to optimize design and integrate order creation and procurement.

Interestingly, SAP’s new application sounds a little bit like an online platform simultaneously announced by Siemens at Hannover Messe. Just compare the description above with Siemens’ proposal to create an “an environment capable of connecting all members of the global manufacturing community in order to maximize resource utilization, access additive manufacturing expertise, and expand business opportunity.” Clearly, market leaders are spotting an opportunity to improve connectivity and collaboration in the 3D printing sphere.

SAP says that SAP Distributed Manufacturing, part of the SAP Leonardo portfolio for the Internet of Things (IoT), will provide a “scalable process for manufacturers to collaborate with 3D printing companies, service and materials providers, and OEMs in open or private environments.” Integrating with SAP S/4HANA (SAP’s business software suite), SAP Distributed Manufacturing supports the entire end-to-end, quote-to-contract process, helping users to develop a part using additive manufacturing.

“As 3D printing technology advances beyond prototyping, more companies are rethinking their manufacturing and supply networks to take advantage of cost-effective local production, customization and rapid delivery to meet changing customer expectations,” said Dr. Tanja Rueckert, executive vice president of IoT and Digital Supply Chain at SAP. “After successfully co-innovating with our customers, we are now delivering a solution for manufacturers to have a standard and scalable business process to intelligently manage design, material, pricing, procurement and logistics decisions in a collaborative network to drive more effective Industry 4.0 strategies.”

An important part of the new 3D printing application will be auditing and certifying the processes of participating 3D printing service providers, since users need to be certain that businesses they connect with are capable of producing high-quality parts. SAP has sought help in this department from  TÜV NORD, a Hannover-based technical services provider which plans to offer ISO 9001 certification adapted for distributed manufacturing for the new application.

“For customers it’s enormously important that the manufactured components should be of consistently high quality so that they can be safely and reliably used,” said Ulf Theike, general manager of TÜV NORD Systems. “To this end, demonstrably reliable processes and certification from trusted providers provide assurance that customers require.”

More than 45 customers and service providers, including UPS, participated in testing of SAP Distributed Manufacturing after an early access program was launched in January.

In addition to unveiling SAP Distributed Manufacturing at Hannover Messe, SAP also gave a glimpse into its work with partners HP Inc. (which launched its first ever 3D printer last year) and Jabil, a US-based manufacturing services company. SAP says it is working with HP to improve the process of evaluating and sourcing 3D printing technology through integration with SAP’s enterprise systems and network of partners. Jabil is working with SAP “to create end-to-end industrial digital manufacturing with real-time visibility to the machine level on the production floor.”

Stay tuned for further additive manufacturing news coming from Hannover Messe 2017.



Posted in 3D Software



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