French DARPA to Pilot Automated 2D-to-3D 3D Printing Software –

The French Defense Innovation Agency, together with Spare Parts 3D and the University of Research in Automated Production (LURPA) of the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) Paris-Sarclay, announce the launch of a joint R&D project . The three-year project is named “RAPID,” not to be confused with the largest 3D printing event in North America. RAPID’s goal will be to use Spare Parts’ proprietary DigiPART platform to create a software solution capable of automatically reconstructing 2D drawings, combined with brief written product descriptions, into printable 3D models.

In a statement, LURPA Deputy Director Nabil Anwer explained: “The reconstruction of 3D models from technical drawings is a real challenge for which the combination of digital geometry processing techniques, expert algorithms and deep learning will pave the way for significant progress. breakthrough in creating digital inventories. Christophe Migliorini, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Spare Parts 3D, explains: “Thanks to this program, we have put together a state-of-the-art team for the development of this fundamental software module. This will strengthen the attractiveness of our DigiPART solution and consolidate our leadership in the identification of parts for additive manufacturing.

Image courtesy of Spare Parts 3D

Singapore-based with offices in Paris, Spare Parts 3D was founded in 2015. The company’s aforementioned in-house software, DigiPART, uses algorithms to combine semantic recognition and 2D blueprint reading, with material databases and AM techniques, to help customers create the most economical and efficient digital supply chains. On the user side, DigiPART has three main components: IDENTIFY, CATALOG and PRINT. As the labels suggest, “IDENTIFY” assesses the potential of 3D printing customers’ parts, “CATALOG” creates a digital inventory of those parts, and “PRINT” connects customers with the best matches for local 3D printing services. .

Image courtesy of Spare Parts 3D.

The French Defense Innovation Agency was created in 2018, became operational in 2019, and has a projected budget for 2022 of €1 billion (currently around $1.079 billion). The agency considers itself a “French DARPA” – of course referring to the US Army’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – and was created after the EU scuttled French President Macron’s pet project to create a European DARPA. It is headed by Emmanuel Chiva, a specialist in AI and military simulation.

LURPA, created at ENS Paris-Sarclay in 1981, is made up of two main poles, both of which carry out work that is highly relevant to the RAPID project. The Geo3D team studies “the three-dimensional geometry of parts and mechanisms”, while the Automated Systems Engineering team studies Discrete Event Dynamics Systems (DEDS). DEDS modeling and simulation are increasingly important in the field of industrial engineering, among other things because they are essential for the development and optimization of workflow management software platforms.

Various software tools that turn 2D drawings into printable 3D models have been around for quite some time. For example, ZVerse, one of the most well-known companies in this field, launched an earlier version of its LAYR software in 2015. In recent years, the evolution of these tools, like that of the industry as a whole, has moved towards greater automation, as discussed in the “Automation, additive manufacturing and the factory of the future”SmarTech Analysis report. Like the 3D printing industry as a whole, this type of software has improved in recent years. A project like this could come at exactly the right time to push the technology even further. Finally, it also shows how serious all of the world’s militaries – not just those of the US and China – are about taking over their countries’ Critical Emerging Technologies (CETs).

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Kayla A. Murphy