– 3D Systems showcased today how advancements in its digital manufacturing technologies can offer viable, enhanced alternatives to traditional manufacturing processes. By providing access to accelerated, cost-efficient means of production, 3D Systems provides its customers a competitive advantage in designing and manufacturing unique and low volume products. At formnext 2016, the company highlighted three key technology innovations driving this shift: Digital Molding, materials innovation and advanced software solutions.
Digital Molding, powered by 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology, enables the rapid, tool-free, continuous production of plastic parts with improved efficiency, design flexibility and economics as compared to traditional methodologies. It is a modular, scalable additive manufacturing process that simplifies and accelerates the production of plastic parts. This ultra-fast, automated Stereolithography (SLA) system enables manufacturers to go straight from CAD to manufacturing, without tooling, for the rapid production of complex plastic parts. By eliminating the time and money required for traditional tooling, Digital Molding saves upfront costs and enables immediate part revisions without operational downtime.
In addition to 3D Systems’ Digital Molding demonstration, the company will introduce several new materials engineered for advanced applications across 3D Systems’ MultiJet Printing (MJP), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and SLA technologies.
New to the company’s MJP materials lineup is VisiJet M3 CAST for the ProJet MJP 3600W and 3600W Max. VisiJet M3 CAST is a durable, next generation 100% wax material for the high throughput production of consistent, superior quality patterns for metal casting excellence and efficiency. Ideal for end-use metal part manufacturing, VisiJet M3 CAST joins QuickCast, 3D Systems’ SLA solution for precision metal casting, as part of the company’s digital casting materials portfolio. Digital casting offers advantages over traditional casting in design complexity as well as the cost and time savings that can be realized from bypassing tooling.
New materials in Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) include:
- DuraForm ProX GF Plastic, a glass-filled composite Nylon material for the ProX® SLS 500. DuraForm ProX GF offers best-in-class rigidity and stiffness with amazing tensile, flexural and impact strength and advanced thermal resistance.
- DuraForm ProX HST Composite, a proprietary mineral-filled composite material for the ProX SLS 500. With the highest available temperature resistance among 3D Systems’ SLS materials and a high strength to weight ratio, DuraForm ProX HST is excellent for applications requiring lightweight, rigid, load bearing parts.
- DuraForm TPU Elastomer, an abrasion and tear-resistant material for the sPro™ 60 HD-HS. With an excellent recovery memory to maintain original shape, DuraForm TPU enables functional prototypes for wear-and-tear testing and is well suited for applications ranging from footwear and sports equipment to gaskets, weather sealing, and flexible hosing and conduits.
To facilitate visualization applications requiring high temperature resistance, 3D Systems is also introducing Accura Phoenix for its SLA printers. Offering superior clarity, Accura Phoenix is also less rigid than existing high temperature materials, enabling improved performance in assembly operations where some flexibility may be required.
3D Systems will also feature demonstrations of advanced manufacturing software solutions engineered to streamline and simplify the design to manufacturing workflow. Visitors to formnext will be able to experience the 3D design, optimization and management tools of 3D Sprint, the company’s revolutionary software for plastic part production, as well as 3DXpert, the company’s all-in-one solution for metal additive manufacturing.
“As 3D printing continues to evolve from prototyping to production, our end-to-end solutions are transforming the way our customers design and manufacture,” said Herbert Koeck, SVP & General Manager, EMEA, 3D Systems. “With innovations such as Digital Molding and advanced new materials, we are helping to make 3D production real.”