Polygonica is widely used in Additive Manufacturing to enhance cloud-based services. Service bureaus, materials suppliers and MES systems all deploy Polygonica in both public cloud and on-premises scenarios for a range of important geometry operations such as healing and printability analysis.
As a software library with a C API that is supported on Linux as well as Windows and OSX, it is easy to deploy Polygonica as a back-end geometry engine for your cloud or on-premises solutions.
Polygonica's customers who do this range from advanced Manufacturing Estimating Systems (MES) for AM, large service bureaus who manufacture parts and also manage large networks of approved part manufacturers, to materials suppliers who offer their customers web-based geometry tools as part of an alternate sales and support channel.
On-premises client-server deployments range from custom dental labs using Polygonica for fast and automated mesh operations to construction companies using Polygonica to pre-process and filter huge amounts of geometry regularly submitted by multiple subcontractors on large construction projects.
This blog covers what is currently the most common usage of Polygonica in cloud-scenarios - healing and printability analysis for Additive Manufacturing. Look out for subsequent blogs where we plan to cover more specific case-studies from Additive Manufacturing and hopefully other industries.
Defect Analysis and Automatic Repair
Polygonica is the leading engine for automatic healing of mesh defects. A typical workflow allows the user to upload their mesh model, usually as an STL. The back-end system can then
- Identify gaps, self-intersections, non-manifold geometry and foldovers for display in the client browser
- Automatically create a watertight model in a single operation
- Create a high density analysis mesh, or heat map, that compares the healed result with the original so the potential client can approve any changes to the model
- Decimate the analysis mesh for fast transmission to the client browser for interactive viewing whilst preserving information critical to accurate display of tolerance boundaries.
Right: The watertight, self-intersection free, manifold result, healed automatically by Polygonica.
Right: Result automatically healed by Polygonica in twenty seconds.
Right: The same view of the model after self-intersections were removed by Polygonica.
Right: The same view after healing. Back faces are shown in light blue.
Right: Heatmap comparing the healed model with the original.
Deviations greater than 0.016mm from the original are shown in red.
Wall Thickness Analysis
In many types of manufacturing it is important to ensure a design is structurally stable with respect to the manufacturing process and this is especially so in Additive Manufacturing which allows very complex geometries to be printed - at least in theory.
A common printability analysis tool is the wall thickness check, which works in a similar way to the analysis mesh but, instead of the deviation between before and after versions of the parts, the thickness of the part across the suface is computed and displayed.
Unlike some other tools Polygonica's algorithms ensure an even spread of sample points across the surface so there is less chance of missing small features. Decimation can also be used to reduce the amount of data that needs to be sent to the client.
Surface and Feature Recognition
Polygonica's algorithms can
- Identify and parameterise surfaces within uploaded STLs i.e. planes, cylinders, spheres, cones and tori.
- Identify and parameterise complex features and sub-features such as islands, pockets, holes, drilled holes and blends
These routines can be used to regenerate missing PMI / GDT information to further assess the validity of the design and the likely complexity of the manufacturing process.
From Polygonica 3.0 denoising and surface detection can be used on meshes generated from noisy laser scans allowing an initial printability check of laser scan data before attempting expensive manual reverse engineering processes.
Other Part Properties
Polygonica provides a growing list of geometric analysis capabilities including
- Volume and surface area calculation
- Computation of Centre of Mass and Principle Axes
- Maximum Thickness of a part
- Volume and projected area of support regions
- Computation of principal curvatures across a surface
- Creation of 2D profiles including sections, slices and silhouette projections
- Various analyses of 2D profiles including area, maximum thickness and medial axis.
CASTOR Case Study
Thanks for reading. If you'd like to find out more about companies that deploy Polygonica in the cloud then please visit the CASTOR case study, Decision making for additive manufacturing in the cloud.