3D printing company Stratasys has unveiled its latest “under development” product: the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator. Presented at RAPID + TCT 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA, the upcoming 3D printing system is designed to enable low volume production and mass customization.
Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is modular and scalable
Stratasys’ Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator platform is a modular 3D printing unit that is made up of various 3D printer cells that are programmed to print simultaneously. Powered by a scalable, cloud-based architecture, the new 3D printing system promises to “set new standards” for additive manufacturing throughput.
According to the company, its new product is built to additively manufacture parts simultaneously and continuously with minimal human intervention. Each individual 3D print cell that makes up the system is capable of executing a different print job, which facilitates mass customization. The cells will also automatically “eject” finished prints in order to begin new ones.
“The Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is an important milestone in the company’s long term vision to make additive manufacturing a viable solution for volume production environments,” commented Scott Crump, Stratasys Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer. “It combines our FDM print quality, GrabCAD control and monitoring, and a new multi-cell, scalable architecture to create a breakthrough manufacturing platform.”
The new Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is scalable, which means that 3D print cells can be added or removed at any time, depending on the production requirements. The system also features automatic queue management, as well as load balancing and architecture redundancy. This last feature allows print jobs to be switched to different 3D print cells in case of any problems or failures, helping to maintain the continuous flow of the system.
While the technology is not yet commercially available, Stratasys says it is targeting its new 3D printing system at educational rapid prototyping labs and similar environments that will benefit from “zero tooling production and from a zero inventory supply chain.”
So far, the 3D printing tech has received positive reviews from companies and institutions that have been lucky enough to trial it. For instance, a Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator was installed at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Design Lab, where it has given students round the clock access to 3D printing technology.
SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace said of the system: “This is the future! We believe the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator represents the next generation of 3D printing, the first-ever platform of its kind. The world has never seen an approach to rapid prototyping like this before. As ever, SCAD students are the earliest adopters of design technology.”
A 9-cell configuration of the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator
In’Tech Industries, Inc., a Minnesota-based supplier of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing services, and FATHOM, an advanced manufacturing company, have also both integrated Stratasys’ system into their workflows with positive outcomes.
The Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is currently being showcased at RAPID + TCT 2017. Visitors can see the new technology at Stratasys’ booth #1513.