AM I Navigator

We at BASF Forward AM are always thinking about the future of Additive Manufacturing. This past November at Formnext – Where ideas take shape, we introduced the AM I Navigator in collaboration with Siemens IndustryDyeMansionEOS, and HP 3D Printing. This is a collaborative effort to standardize a model for technical maturation call the Additive Manufacturing Industrialization Navigator, or more quickly referred to as AM I Navigator.

As the materials specialist, Forward AM, along with these four leading 3D printing powerhouses, announced a collaborative effort to standardize a model for technical maturation. It is called the Additive Manufacturing Industrialization Navigator (AM I Navigator). The core concept of the AM I Navigator revolves around the “Maturity Check,” which is employed to evaluate a particular company’s competencies in Additive Manufacturing. This assessment involves determining the position of these competencies on a scale ranging from 1 to 5.

The Navigator scale steps up as follows:

  1. Basic
  2. Professional
  3. Advanced
  4. Integrated
  5. Autonomous

Based on a rubric of five levels that proceed from least to most mature (Level 1- “Basic” to Level 5 – “Autonomous”), the AM I Navigator scale can perhaps be thought of along the lines of a holistic, purely private sector version of the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) scales utilized by the U.S. Federal Government.

The linchpin of AM I Navigator is the “Maturity Check”. Via this process, the AM I Navigator scale — Basic, Professional, Advanced, Integrated, and Autonomous — is used to assess a specific company’s overall AM competencies by determining where those competencies fall on the scale. The key to this framework is the digital thread by which the company defines “a discrete, linked, traceable sequence of activities in the product or production lifecycle, that is digitized and automated.” While additional details may develop as the collaboration moves forward, this is presumably the core basis upon which a specific company’s overall AM capabilities will be assessed.

This aspect also helps explain the importance of expertise of the founding participants. Each company involved constitutes a specific link in the chain of the digital thread. Siemens is the engineering and digitalization expert, BASF Forward AM is the materials specialist, HP is the end-to-end AM division within a tech giant, EOS is the pure play AM OEM, and DyeMansion rounds out the group with its post-processing platform.

This collaborative effort holds significant importance because it provides a tangible means through which standardization in Additive Manufacturing can be realistically accomplished. We are very proud to be part of this initiation and we anticipate both great success and a bright future ahead!

In the video below, you’ll find a statement regarding the AM I Navigator shared by our CEO, @Martin Back.

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