Public Sector | SaaS Applications

Atlas 3D Helps US Military Conquer Thermal Distortion to Transform Additive Manufacturing Processes with Trek10 and AWS

Trek10 adapts a SaaS solution for use on AWS GovCloud to aid US Military interests in using their 3D metal printer to its full potential

The Challenge

In June 2018, the US Military voiced an interest in Sunata. At the time, their 3D metal printer was not successfully producing parts for two reasons: either the parts were unusable because they were too far out of specification or they would distort badly in the build process, causing the printer to fail.

The US Military understood that Sunata could solve these challenges, however, to realize its value, they had to ensure that Atlas 3D was prepared to meet their stringent security and compliance needs. When involved in Department of Defense (DoD) work, users typically cannot submit or send documentation related to classified parts over the cloud in any way, shape, or form. The only exception is if they were to ensure a very specific environment, like that of AWS GovCloud (US).

AWS US GovCloud enables customers to comply with the FedRAMP High baseline, the DOJ’s Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Security Policy, US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administrative Regulations (EAR), DoD Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG) for Impact Levels 2, 4, and 5, FIPS 140-2, IRS-1075, and other compliance regimes.

AWS GovCloud (US-East) and (US-West) Regions are operated by employees who are US persons, as defined by ITAR. Customers must confirm that they will only use a US person – a green card holder or citizen as defined by the US Department of State – to manage and access root account keys to these regions. That environment includes encrypting the parts and ensuring that no non-US persons can gain access to those parts.

AWS GovCloud would allow the US Military to begin optimizing additive manufacturing processes because it gives government customers and their partners the flexibility to architect secure cloud solutions. Furthermore, running on AWS GovCloud would help them ensure their implementation was ITAR compliant.

Benefits and Results

The teams within the US Military that use Sunata had procured a metal 3D printer seven years earlier. In that time, they had yet been able to print a single part from it due to thermal distortion. After deploying Sunata, they are now able to print roughly 10 parts per week. With the help of Trek10 and AWS, Altas 3D has helped transform their 3D metal printer into an integral part of building components of vehicles and machines for military use.

Why Trek10 and AWS?

In order to meet the needs of the US Military, Atlas 3D contacted Trek10 and asked if they could replicate their Sunata SaaS offering within AWS US GovCloud. This project would represent Atlas 3D’s second major initiative with Trek10 and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

In 2018, Trek10 helped Atlas 3D transition Sunata from a desktop application to a SaaS application running on AWS. Prior to this engagement, Atlas 3D’s CEO, Chad Barden, had an opportunity to speak at length with Andy Warzon, the technical founder of Trek10. These discussions gave him an understanding of Trek10’s capabilities and standards. In addition, Trek10 is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner with a SaaS Competency and numerous certifications. It was based on that reputation that made him confident in selecting Trek10 as Altas 3D’s partner. Together, Trek10 and Atlas 3D made the decision to stand up the offering on AWS, due to its security, global scalability, and replicability.

After the success of this project, Atlas 3D was confident that Trek10 could replicate the offering from commercial AWS Regions to AWS GovCloud.

Asked why he continues to work with Trek10, Barden explained, “I think there are a lot of contractors that do implementation on cloud-based platforms like AWS. Trek10 goes beyond implementation to create the ‘knobs’ and ‘handles’ our offerings need. Then, they wire everything together so that it operates easily.”

The Solution

AWS diligently vets every service that is part of AWS GovCloud to ensure it meets government security and compliance standards. As a result, not every commercial AWS offering is available on AWS GovCloud.

As Trek10 began the replication process they determined that a few core AWS services leveraged by Sunata had not yet been vetted by AWS for GovCloud. One of the primary examples of this was AWS Batch.

The commercial version of Sunata leverages AWS Batch, a fully managed batch processing solution at any scale. It allows users to run hundreds of thousands of batch computing jobs easily and efficiently on AWS. AWS Batch dynamically provisions the optimal quantity and type of compute resources based on the volume or specific resource requirements of the batch jobs submitted. The importance of AWS Batch to Atlas 3D lies in cost-efficient scalability, fast development, and speed to market.

AWS Batch has since been vetted and incorporated into AWS GovCloud. However, in order to complete the project on time, Trek10 had to virtually rebuild the service to provide Altas 3D with the same functionality in AWS GovCloud as they had in their SaaS offering. Trek10 built a similar service from the ground up, using Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Autoscaling, AWS Lambda, and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS).

In less than two months, Trek10 had successfully rebuilt all necessary AWS services on AWS GovCloud and stood up a replica of Sunata on the AWS GovCloud.

"Trek10 did a wonderful job of basically reinventing some of the services that we had used in the commercial instance so that we could run this serverless, highly scalable, compute-intensive application in this ITAR protected environment."
- Chad Barden, CEO, Atlas 3D

About Atlas 3D

Founded in 2017, Atlas 3D is a company headquartered in Plymouth, Indiana that builds comprehensive additive manufacturing solutions. Their core offering, Sunata, is a SaaS application that helps manufacturers translate metal part designs into successful prints. There are many variables, such as temperature, part orientation, and primitive support structures that can lead to thermal distortion and degrade the quality and operability of 3D-printed metal parts.

Sunata uses a proprietary simulation algorithm to analyze various orientations of a part before it is 3D printed to determine the optimal orientation and support structure to mitigate thermal distortion. Atlas 3D customers can simulate the build process for a given part in over 100 orientations in the same amount of time that it would take other leading simulators to run one orientation.