Apr 23, 2018 | By David
This year’s Rapid + TCT conference in Fort Worth, Texas, which runs from April 23-26, is a showcase for a lot of the major players in the 3D printing world, as well as the smaller start-ups and organizations that are pointing the way forward for the industry. In case you’re not able to make it there in person, here’s a round-up of what three of the biggest names – EOS, Stratasys, and 3D Systems – have to offer.
The major innovation that EOS will be demonstrating at this year’s event is its new industrial polymer 3D printer, the P 810. This AM machine was specifically designed to process the company’s new high-performance polymer material, HT-23. The technology was developed in close collaboration with aviation giant Boeing, and it is primarily intended for the production of aerospace components.
According to Scott Killian, aerospace business development manager, EOS North America, ”Additive manufacturing enables the design and manufacturing of complex geometries without expensive tooling. This allows aerospace OEM’s to replace composite parts which to date are being produced manually via carbon fiber laminating. They can also replace aluminum parts with HT-23 while still meeting the material strength properties required for the application. With the EOS P 810, our customers can produce lightweight parts, reduce time for production and parts assembly, and cut overall costs-per-part.”
HT-23 is produced by EOS’ ALM (Advanced Laser Materials) 3D printing materials subsidiary. It’s a carbon fiber-reinforced PEKK material, with a low refresh rate of 40%. The P 810, which was developed exclusively to process HT-23, is an evolution from the company’s earlier EOSint P800 HTLS (high-temperature laser sintering) 3D printer. It has a build volume of 700x380x380 mm (27.5x15x15 in), and two 70-watt lasers, allowing for the production of large structural parts with dimensional accuracy and a high level of productivity.
Stratasys is showcasing a number of innovative new products and exciting developments at Rapid + TCT this year, both in terms of hardware and materials. One of its main announcements is a new 3D printer, the F900 PRO. This is the third generation of the company’s flagship Fortus FDM 3D printing platform, and it will push additive manufacturing even closer to everyday use for final parts production.
The F900 PRO features a MTConnect-ready interface with production-ready accuracy and repeatability. It is a specialized upgrade of the company’s versatile F900 3D printer, much like the Stratasys F900 Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution (AICS), which was already announced at the Paris Air Show. The AICS version is intended for the manufacturing of flight-worthy thermoplastic components. The F900 PRO version is designed for final production in a broader range of industries than the AICS, and it is optimized to get the best possible performance out of Stratasys’ ULTEM 9085 resin material.
”What’s really exciting about this development is that Stratasys is showing how additive manufacturing has finally reached the level of repeatability and performance required for final part production,” says Keith Kmetz of consulting firm, IDC. ”With the introduction of the F900 Production 3D Printer and the focus on industry standards and standardization, Stratasys is helping to advance this technology from its prototyping and tooling roots to a true industrial additive manufacturing system.”
Another upgrade was announced for Stratasys’ J750 PolyJet system, as well as the new J735. The range of these FDM machines, which are intended for rapid prototyping for designers and engineers, will be expanded even further. Their multi-material extrusion capabilities will be enhanced with a new vivid color package, taking the total number of color combinations past the half million mark. This adds to their highly accurate color matching and texture rendering, enabling the production of vivid, realistic prototypes for a broad range of industries.
In terms of materials, the new VeroYellowV and VeroMagentaV FDM filaments will enable the aforementioned PolyJet systems to produce vividly-coloured prototypes with a high level of translucency, without the need for excessive post-processing. The company’s Carbon Fiber Nylon 12 material is now compatible with a larger range of Stratasys 3D printers, including the Fortus 900 and 450.
Also demonstrated at the event is Stratasys’ new GrabCAD Print software solution, which will allow designers to 3D print directly from native CAD formats. This saves the time that is typically used to convert and fix STL files.
3D Systems is showcasing its latest technological breakthroughs in an effort to encourage 3D printing’s move from prototyping to final production. Figure 4 is a scalable 3D printing platform that has been claimed to be the fastest and most accurate AM technology available. It boasts part print speeds of up to 65mm (2.55 in) /hr, with prototyping speeds of up to 100 mm/hr. The Figure 4 platform, which is available in Production and Standalone versions, delivers part accuracy and repeatability, with Six Sigma repeatability (Cpk > 2) across all materials.
Newly announced material compatibilities with the Figure 4 platform include Figure 4 ELAST-BLK, which is an elastomeric black material ideal for iteration and design verification of flexible parts. There is also Figure 4 JCST-GRN, which is a castable green material optimized for investment casting of jewelry patterns. A total of 30 materials will be announced for Figure 4 Production by 3D Systems.
Another big announcement is the general availability of the company’s ProX SLS 6100 3D printer, a move that could potentially revolutionize plastics production. To accompany the wider release of this affordable SLS machine, 3D Systems will be debuting six new compatible materials in Nylon 11 and Nylon 12. The company is also planning to make the FabPro 1000, an entry-level industrial FDM machine, generally avaialbe from the end of May.
This year’s Rapid + TCT also sees the launch of the compay’s DMP Monitoring metal AM solution. This equips users with a toolset for enhanced quality control of its Direct Metal Printing technology. DMP Monitoring leverages real-time image analysis and data collection to optimize build parameters and produce higher quality parts. DMP Monitoring is currently available for 3D Systems’ ProX DMP 320 printers, and it will be included with the company’s DMP 8500 Factory Solution when it becomes generally available later in 2018.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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