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3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced a host of innovations designed to enhance customer success and catalyze industries. The company is introducing high-throughput 3D printing technologies, a new partnership to provide industry-leading post-processing, improved additive manufacturing software, and a new production-grade photopolymer. By combining these latest innovations along with the expertise of its Application Innovation Group (AIG), 3D Systems is helping customers defy limitations to advance additive manufacturing (AM) performance and productivity in healthcare and industrial markets.
Industrial-Scale SLS Solution Delivers Repeatable End-Use Parts
3D Systems designs and delivers AM solutions comprising hardware, software, materials, and services to help companies accelerate their business innovations. Today the company is pleased to introduce its next-generation selective laser sintering (SLS) workflow that combines 3D Systems’ new SLS 380, 3D Sprint®, DuraForm® materials, and AMT’s PostPro® enabling cost-effective batch production parts with unprecedented levels of throughput, consistency, performance, and yield.
The SLS 380 delivers high levels of repeatability, improved throughput, and reduced operating costs for more effective, efficient digital manufacturing. The SLS printer utilizes a custom algorithm that manages eight separately calibrated heaters, together with an integrated high-resolution IR camera that captures over 100,000 thermal data samples per second to manage, monitor, and control thermal uniformity within the build chamber.
As part of this new platform, 3D Systems is also introducing a new Material Quality Control (MQC) system, the MQC 600. The MQC ensures an optimal ratio of fresh to recycled material and the MQC 600 is optimized to deliver material to up to four printers simultaneously, minimizing material waste and eliminating operator intervention. The company is planning general availability of the SLS 380 for the first quarter of 2022.
To complete the workflow, 3D Systems will resell AMT’s line of products to provide a fully automated post-processing workflow. AMT’s PostPro industrial-scale SLS post-processing system includes fully automated de-powdering and chemical vapor smoothing solutions that optimize part quality and mechanical performance while improving efficiencies. PostPro enables batch cleaning and smoothing of parts thus reducing lead time and manufacturing costs and enabling factory scalability.
Enhanced DMP Configuration Accelerates Innovation for Healthcare & Industrial Applications
3D Systems’ Direct Metal Printing (DMP) platform is recognized as an industry-leading technology for its ability to produce exceptionally strong parts of high chemical purity. As a result, many of the world’s largest manufacturers rely on the company’s metal additive manufacturing solutions to produce products, components, and tools with reduced weight, increased functionality, and simplified assemblies.
Today, the company is announcing the DMP Flex 350 Dual and DMP Factory 350 Dual that include two lasers that help reduce build time by up to 50% and lower cost. These latest additions to the company’s DMP portfolio maintain the benefits of the single-laser configurations including flexible application use and quick-swap build modules (DMP Flex 350 Dual); integrated powder recycling (DMP Factory 350 Dual); and a central server to manage print jobs, materials, settings, and maintenance for 24/7 productivity. Additionally, the company’s unique vacuum chamber significantly reduces argon gas consumption while delivering best-in-class oxygen purity (<30 ppm). The DMP Flex 350 Dual and DMP Factory 350 Dual can help accelerate innovation for a variety of applications including medical devices, aerospace, turbomachinery, semiconductors, and automotive & motorsports. The general availability of these printers is anticipated for the first quarter of 2022.
DMP Flex 200 Delivers Exceptional Quality for Broad Range of Dental Applications
The DMP Flex 200 is designed for additive manufacturing of high-quality, small, complex, fine detail metal parts making it ideal for dental applications including next-day removable partial dentures (RPDs), crowns, bridges, and implant bars. The DMP Flex 200 features a 500W laser source and a larger build volume (140 x 140 x 115 mm or 5.51 x 5.51 x 4.53 in) with a build plate clamping mechanism that eliminates the need for screw management inside the process chamber. 3D Systems plans to make the DMP Flex 200 available in the first quarter of 2022.
3DXpert 17 Accelerates Production with Topology Optimization, Machine Learning
Customers integrating 3D Systems’ DMP portfolio into their production workflow can also benefit from the enhanced features of 3DXpert 17, which is available from Oqton. Through the acquisition of Oqton, announced in September, 3D Systems will make its entire AM suite of software platforms available to the additive manufacturing industry. 3DXpert is the industry’s most powerful integrated tool to prepare and optimize parts quickly, enabling rapid design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) to shorten production time and increase part precision. Features available in the new version accelerate part design with higher yield and faster print times. General availability of 3DXpert 17 is planned for the fourth quarter of 2021.
Figure 4 Rigid 140C Black Opens New Automotive & Industrial Applications
The rapid innovation occurring in 3D Systems’ materials portfolio is enabling the company’s customers to address a variety of new production applications. Today, 3D Systems announced Figure 4 Rigid 140C Black, a two-part epoxy/acrylate hybrid material, designed to deliver production-grade parts with long-term mechanical stability in various environments. This innovative material, made with patented filler, provides toughness comparable to injection molded polybutylene glass fiber (PBT GF). Figure 4 Rigid 140C Black has a 124°C @1.82MPa HDT which makes it a very attractive material for under-the-hood and internal cabin automotive applications including end-use clips, covers, connectors, housings and fasteners, electrical latching, and board connectors. Under-the-hood components produced with Figure 4 Rigid 140C Black demonstrated excellent reliability when subjected to high temperature operating life (HTOL) testing. These parts also demonstrate good part-to-part friction which makes this an ideal material for industrial applications such as levers, knobs, and clutches as the material maintains its structural properties.
Figure 4 Rigid 140C Black was tested to the equivalent of eight years indoor and one and a half years in outdoor environments per ASTM D4329 and ASTM G194 methods. Innovators who use this material in conjunction with 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology will not only be able to create production parts with excellent surface quality, accuracy, and repeatability, they will also be able to reduce the time to final part due to the company’s efficient thermal post-cure process. Manufacturers will benefit from the required three-hour thermal post-cure at 135°C without the need to pack the parts in salt, as is required for other similar materials available on competitive systems. Additionally, the cure time is approximately 75% shorter than the eight to 12 hours required for similar materials available on competitive systems.
“We’re excited to be able to meet with our industry colleagues, collaborators, and customers here at Formnext and introduce new product enhancements in our additive manufacturing portfolio,” said Dr. David Leigh, chief technology officer for additive manufacturing, 3D Systems. “We remain committed to investing in our core technologies that help our customers tackle the toughest production applications. As we approach the end of the year, we’re looking forward to the future with great anticipation and the realization that we can’t accomplish this by ourselves. We see tremendous opportunities to collaborate with others in the industry to bring together our products and expertise – fundamentally transforming the solutions we provide to help change the world of additive manufacturing.”