Stratasys and Eckhart Sign Agreement with Exclusive Rights to Accelerate 3D Printing Adoption for Factory Tools


MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel & WARREN, Mich.–()–Stratasys
(Nasdaq:SSYS), a global leader in applied additive technology solutions
and Eckhart, Inc. today announced an exclusive three-year collaboration
agreement to advance the adoption of 3D printing for factory tooling in
North America.

For over 60 years Eckhart has been building the tools that manufacturers
use to make their production lines safe and efficient. The company’s
advanced manufacturing solutions are used by the largest manufacturers
in the world to assist and automate the assembly process for industries
such as automotive, aerospace, heavy construction, medical and others.

Eckhart’s ergonomic lift-assist and torque-mitigating tools allow a
technician to perform tasks like lifting and positioning a car engine
while it is bolted to the chassis. And the company also makes tools that
let manufacturers complete high-torque assembly processes where space
and part shape limit access.

Eckhart believes that the tooling industry is ripe for change with the
introduction of additive manufacturing technology to help redesign
factory tools.

“At Eckhart, we believe that with additive manufacturing, there is a
real opportunity to reinvent how industrial tools are designed,
manufactured, and ultimately used by customers,” says Eckhart President
and CEO, Andy Storm.

Three Key Ways Additive Manufacturing Can Help

Based on the unique ability of additive manufacturing to help drive
innovation for next generation factory tooling, Eckhart sees three main
ways the additive processes can help the tooling industry:

Light-weighting & Ergonomics: The lighter and
more organically shaped a tool is, the easier it is to operate and move
around the assembly environment. A strong point of additive
manufacturing is its ability to produce organically shaped parts that
are lighter than conventional designs produced in metal, while still
being strong. Stratasys’ carbon-fiber-reinforced nylon (FDM Nylon 12CF)
has a strength-to-weight ratio that enables it to replace metal in many
applications.

Line-of-Sight Improvement: Additive manufacturing can be
used to design voids in a tool. Traditionally made tools often have
extra material that isn’t providing a value. By reducing the unneeded
material, line-of-sight is improved. By cutting material out you can see
more of the assembly operation.

Simplified Build Structure and Simplified Bill of Materials:
Additive manufacturing can be used to significantly reduce the part
count of an assembly. By redesigning an assembly of numerous parts into
a single part and 3D printing it, designers can reduce the part
count and thereby simplify both the build structure and the bill of
materials for manufacture.

“Our intent is to completely replace existing metal tools with 3D
printed equivalents,” says Storm. “The potential for innovation in
weight-savings, simplified bills-of-material, and enhanced operator
visibility that additive manufacturing affords is unprecedented.”

“We’re looking forward to working closely with Eckhart to help redesign
a new generation of factory tools,” says Stratasys Senior Vice President
of Sales, North America, Patrick Carey. “Both companies not only have a
great deal to offer one another, but a lot to learn from each other as
well. Like Eckhart, Stratasys believes this three-year exclusive
agreement has the potential to bring disruptive innovation to the
industrial tooling market in North America.”

Eckhart’s 3D printing laboratory is located in its recently opened
Advanced Technology Center in Warren, Mich. As part of the partnership
with Stratasys, the lab includes printers using Stratasys’ proprietary
fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing process. The laboratory has
Stratasys’ Fortus 450mc, F370, and Fortus 250mc 3D Printers designed to
produce on-demand parts, leveraging production-grade thermoplastics, as
well as advanced manufacturing tools. Eckhart also uses a range of
Stratasys materials, including the carbon-fiber-reinforced (FDM Nylon 12
CF).

In addition to accelerating the adoption of 3D printing, the partnership
is aimed to leverage both companies’ expertise in adjacent markets to
promote the adoption of Industry 4.0 and the use of micro sensors in 3D
printed tools to begin integrating advanced diagnostics that will enable
the smart factories of the future.

“The significant advancements in micro sensors and position based
technologies afford us an opportunity to change how our customers
monitor and manage the health of their line,” says Storm. “We’re
partnering with the global 3D printing leader whose technology is
transforming how, when, and where things are made to integrate advanced
technology into our suite of solutions and bring real value by helping
Eckhart’s strategic customers accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0.”

About Stratasys
Stratasys is a global leader in applied
additive technology solutions for industries including Aerospace,
Automotive, Healthcare, Consumer Products and Education. For nearly 30
years, a deep and ongoing focus on customers’ business requirements has
fueled purposeful innovations—1,200 granted and pending additive
technology patents to date—that create new value across product
lifecycle processes, from design prototypes to manufacturing tools and
final production parts. The Stratasys 3D printing ecosystem of solutions
and expertise—advanced materials; software with voxel level control;
precise, repeatable and reliable FDM and PolyJet 3D printers;
application-based expert services; on-demand parts and industry-defining
partnerships—works to ensure seamless integration into each customer’s
evolving workflow. Fulfilling the real-world potential of additive,
Stratasys delivers breakthrough industry-specific applications that
accelerate business processes, optimize value chains and drive business
performance improvements for thousands of future-ready leaders.
Corporate headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel.
Online at: www.stratasys.com,
http://blog.stratasys.com and
LinkedIn.

About Eckhart, Inc.
For over 60 years Eckhart, Inc. has
engineered advanced industrial solutions that enhance the quality of
life. Eckhart’s proven portfolio of advanced manufacturing solutions
includes Autocraft™ Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs), FlexCheck™
collaborative robotic systems, 3D printing, and custom automated tooling
design & build solutions for the world’s largest manufacturers. Eckhart
serves an established and loyal, blue-chip customer base of leading
industrial original equipment manufacturers that include Stryker
Medical, General Electric, Raytheon, Ford, Tesla, Boeing, PACCAR, John
Deere, Bradford White, and Caterpillar. For additional information,
please visit www.eckhartusa.com.

Stratasys, Fortus, and FDM are registered trademarks, and FDM Nylon 12
CF, 450mc, F370, 250mc, PolyJet, and the Stratasys signet, are
trademarks of Stratasys Ltd and or its subsidiaries or affiliates. All
other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.



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