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ASTM, America Makes Prioritize Additive Manufacturing Data Management

While the proliferation of digital tools alongside additive manufacturing (AM) is expected to bolster speed to market, efficiency and quality of orthopedic devices produced, work remains on how to best collect and integrate data in the AM process.

As a first step, the ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE), together with America Makes, held ASTM’s first Specialty Workshop Series on Additive Manufacturing Data Management and Schema in 2019. This workshop covered recent AM data management and data-enabled applications by bringing together more than 90 experts from the government, industry and academic sectors to discuss gaps, challenges and potential solutions with respect to data in AM.

“Additive manufacturing is being developed in the age of data. The two are complementary and synergistic,” said Mahdi Jamshidinia, Additive Manufacturing R&D Project Manager for ASTM and co-chair of the event. “Relatively recent developments such as digital data acquisition, automation, in-process monitoring, advanced data analysis (including machine learning, and Integrated Computational Materials Engineering) and data sharing have the potential to exponentially accelerate the AM development timeline.”

Alex Kitt, Product Manager at EWI and co-chair of the event, explained that each platform can expand the AM knowledge base, which can be used to make new platforms more effective. Data-enabled material screening, build monitoring, post-build characterization, process qualification, part certification and data security are among possible advancements ahead of the AM industry.

“However, this exponential growth has not yet been observed,” said Brandon Ribic, Ph.D., Technology Director at America Makes and co-chair of the event. “A key gap is the development of an AM data ecosystem where it is easy and secure to generate, store, analyze and share useful data. A sub-gap is the consistency of data that is gathered across groups.”

Standards are an essential prerequisite for accelerated and broad adoption of any new technology. AM part pedigrees begin with the design and feedstock and end with final post-processing, and each step in the process may be performed by a separate organization that gathers, organizes and reports data differently. These issues create some challenges ahead for the AM community, Jamshidinia said.

The conversation has been started in part to spur innovative methods of collecting and using data in a cohesive way to advance AM operations. The gaps and challenges that were discussed during the workshop are application-agnostic. As with other industries that utilize the AM method, medical device and orthopedic manufacturing will greatly benefit from development of a data ecosystem for AM with potential for improved speed to market, efficiency and quality of products.

“One of the outcomes of this workshop is a roadmap that captures the input of various sectors and allows the AM community to map out existing challenges, summarize gaps and come up with some potential future solutions to improve data management and use through the timely development of related standards,” Jamshidinia said. “Considering the broad range of applications and implications of data in AM, the formation of a stand-alone subcommittee for AM Data has been recommended as a result of this ASTM International workshop. This new subcommittee will provide a home to data-related standardization activities in AM.”

As a follow up to the data workshop, ASTM, in collaboration with America Makes and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), held a workshop on Additive Manufacturing Common Data Dictionary (CDD) earlier this week. The workshop focused on data sharing and accessibility and introduced the first version of AM CDD developed by the AM Data Management Working Group.

For more on data collection and management in regard to AM, orthopedic device professionals can follow or participate in ASTM workshops and committees on the topic.

Heather Tunstall is an ORTHOWORLD Contributing Editor.