Cimatron Limited's  next software release planned for mid-2014, CimatronE version 12, will support the Additive Manufacturing File (AMF) format, which converts 3D models into digital files.

"Since the late 1980s, the STL file format has been the de facto industry standard for transferring CAD data to additive manufacturing equipment," Cimatron's 3D Printing Advisory Board member Terry Wohlers said. "However, the STL format has no provisions for representing color, textures, materials, lattice/mesh structures, units, and other properties of the finished printed part.

"The new XML-based AMF standard was developed to bridge the gap between CAD and modern additive manufacturing technology," Wohlers, who is also president of Wohlers Associates, continued. "This file format contains all relevant information required for making a 3D printed part, including the final part's material, color and internal structure.

AMFs can contain a single object or multiple objects, describing their placement in relation to each other. It breaks down objects geometrically into a series of triangles, the sides of which can be curved.

AMFs are compressed using the zip compression format, though they keep their.AMF file name extensions.

"The AMF format was jointly adopted as an industry standard by both ASTM  International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) last year," Wohlers said. "I am glad to see that Cimatron has completed development for supporting this capability in its next software release."

The Givat Shmuel, Israel-based Cimatron offers software CAD and CAM software solutions for mold, tool and die makers as well as manufacturers of discrete parts. The company's product line includes the CimatronE and GibbsCAM brands for mold design, die design, electrodes design, 2.5 to 5 axes milling, wire EDM, turn, mill-turn, rotary milling, multi-task machining, and tombstone machining.

"As we've previously stated, we keep looking at solutions that Cimatron can offer to the growing market for additive and hybrid manufacturing," Cimatron CEO Danny Haran said. "We are pleased to be among the first CAD vendors to offer direct support of AMF. We believe more market participants will adopt AMF as their preferred method of 3D printing file interface in the coming years."