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Hexagon’s digital reality platform, Nexus, is now available to manufacturers

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Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has launched its digital reality platform, Nexus. Announced yesterday, the new platform applies the latest cloud technologies to unblock innovation bottlenecks, enabling global teams to collaborate in real-time across the product lifecycle – from design and engineering to production and quality – to solve design and manufacturing problems together and accelerate time to market.

Nexus makes this possible by connecting equipment, data and processes to create a digital reality where insights are available to people in real time, in context and in one place so they can make better-informed decisions.

Hexagon customers will be able to connect what they need from its portfolio of hundreds of design and engineering, production, and metrology software applications and devices, as well as third-party technologies. The first solutions on Nexus are commercially available from yesterday:   

  • Metrology Reporting, a Nexus App: The app connects Hexagon and third-party metrology data sources in Nexus’ secure cloud environment so that companies of all sizes can immediately report on previously untapped quality control data from their equipment to spot trends and identify tolerance issues. Any user can generate interactive three-dimensional CAD-based reports and insightful trend plots, KPIs and compliance documentation and up-to-the-minute data with colleagues, customers or suppliers.   
  • Materials Connect, a Nexus App: An all-new, cloud-based library for material data, that empowers manufacturers or material suppliers to manage material data, physical test data and behaviour models for use in product Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) workflows. 
  • Materials Enrich, a Nexus App: A first-of-its-kind Enrich app, it uses the Nexus platform’s machine learning capabilities and cloud-accelerated material behaviour simulations to help users find and simulate optimal materials that may have never been made or measured, improving the performance and sustainability of their products. 
  • Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), a Nexus Solution: A pre-configured Solution that makes it easier and more efficient for teams to jointly develop an optimal metal 3D-printed part and prepare it for a successful print using the laser powder bed fusion (PBF) process. Customers can use the Nexus web interface to connect Hexagon’s MSC Apex Generative Design and Simufact Additive process simulation software with AM Studio from CADS Additive and Materials Connect via the cloud, and easily manage user access to projects. 

Processes such as DfAM have traditionally been siloed – with at least three different engineers and separate software applications solving problems in isolation. This lack of connectivity can lead to costly and time-consuming manual processes and loss of valuable data. With

Nexus, these silos are dismantled so that every engineer involved in the process is able to access the desktop software they need and connect their tools to work through problems together, in real-time, in a way that has never before been achieved in the industry.  

Nexus will enable users to build on their existing portfolio of technologies by promoting the discovery of new tools, training, and support across an unparalleled portfolio of software and hardware from Hexagon and its partner ecosystem.

At launch, partners include Oqton, which will connect DfAM and similar pre-production workflows to its Manufacturing Execution System (MES), allowing customers to leverage data to improve lead times, address quality issues and empower operators.

Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software company Altium will also connect its portfolio to Nexus to provide engineers greater insight with which to design and manufacture products with electronic systems. 

Parth Joshi, chief product and technology officer for Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, said: “Companies across the world are pushing the boundaries of innovation, and Industry 4.0 is bringing ever more tools, technologies and data sources into view. However, the industry has a problem – processes and data sources are often siloed and team members struggle to collaborate across disciplines. This is severely hampering progress. 

“If companies are to reap the benefit of smart manufacturing, we need to change the way we work. With Nexus, our aim is simple – to bring innovative minds together across disciplines and empower them. By leveraging Hexagon’s expertise in innovation, and by connecting people, technologies, and data we can help businesses bring ideas to life faster than ever before. We’re excited to see what customers will do with the technology from today.” 

These first solutions can be accessed and managed through the Nexus web interface, with a single login and user experience. Customers can invite any external user to the platform to share information, for example sharing up to date ‘live’ metrology trend reports up and down the supply chain with one click. As more Apps and Solutions are connected to Nexus, it will make it easier for companies to make improvements to how they work and to solve problems with colleagues in the same company or across the supply chain. 

Nexus is designed to help companies of all sizes, making the benefits of the cloud accessible without prohibitive cost, lengthy system integration or IT expense.

There is no requirement to “move to cloud” as the platform connects desktop and cloud tools together, and, because customers only need to share the data that their team members need, performance is optimised and intellectual property is protected at every step.

The platform’s open architecture allows larger companies to connect teams using Nexus with their enterprise software platforms, maintaining their established business and regulatory processes whilst enriching the digital thread where required with missing data.