8/26/2016 | 3 MINUTE READ

Stratasys Demonstrates Next-Generation 3D Printing Technology for Large Parts, Composites

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The company is displaying its Infinite-Build and Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrators during IMTS 2016.

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Stratasys has announced two next-generation manufacturing technologies, an Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator for large-part production and a Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator combining Stratasys extrusion technology with Siemens motion control hardware and PLM software. These technologies are part of Stratasys’ “Shaping What’s Next” vision for manufacturing vision, which builds on the company’s industrial FDM 3D printing expertise to meet demands for the rapid production of strong parts ranging in size from an automobile armrest to an entire aircraft interior panel.

Both Stratasys technology demonstrators can be seen in the video below, and will be displayed at IMTS 2016, September 12-17, in Booth N-60. 

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The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator is designed to address the requirements of aerospace, automotive and other industries for large lightweight, thermoplastic parts with repeatable mechanical properties. It features an approach to FDM extrusion that increases throughput and repeatability, while turning the traditional 3D printer concept into an “infinite-build” platform which prints on a vertical plane. According to the company, this design enables virtually unlimited part size in the build direction.

Aerospace company Boeing played an influential role in defining the requirements and specifications for the demonstrator, and is currently using an Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator to explore the production of low-volume, lightweight parts.

“We are always looking for ways to reduce the cost and weight of aircraft structures, or reduce the time it takes to prototype and test new tools and products so we can provide them to customers in a more affordable and rapid manner,” says Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works. “The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator enables products to be made at a much larger and potentially unlimited length, offering us a breakthrough tool to add to our robust additive manufacturing processes.”

Ford Motor Company is also exploring innovative automotive manufacturing applications for this demonstrator, and will evaluate this new technology. Ford and Stratasys will work together to test and develop new applications for automotive-grade 3D-printed materials that were not previously possible due to limited size, enabling and accelerating innovative automotive product design.

“Our vision at Ford is to make high-speed, high-quality printing of automotive-grade parts a reality,” says Mike Whitens, director of Vehicle Enterprise Sciences for Ford Research & Advanced Engineering. “We are excited about the future opportunities that the scalable and versatile Infinite-Build concept can unlock, and look forward to collaborating with Stratasys to help achieve our goals.”

The Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator integrates Stratasys’ core additive manufacturing technologies with industrial motion control hardware and design-to-3D printing software capabilities provided by Siemens to further the two companies’ shared vision of making 3D printing a viable and indispensable component of production manufacturing. The demonstrator uses an eight-axis motion system to enable precise, directional material placement for strength while reducing the need for speed-hindering support strategies. According to Stratasys, the technology could be used to accelerate the production of parts made from a variety of materials and redefine how lightweight parts will be built.

“By working closely with Stratasys on motion control and CNC automation, Siemens is helping to create a flexible, multi-function manufacturing workflow that puts 3D printing firmly in the factory,” says Arun Jain, vice president of Motion Control, Digital Factory US for Siemens.

“Stratasys is building on our success in manufacturing with applications such as manufacturing aids, injection molds and composite tooling, and leveraging our relationships with innovative industry leaders to further extend the applicability of additive manufacturing in demanding production environments,” says Ilan Levin, CEO of Stratasys. “We view the level of factory integration, automation, and performance monitoring potentially offered by these new demonstrators as catalysts for the transformation to Industry 4.0. Stratasys invites all visitors to IMTS to see these new technologies, as well as our field-proven industrial additive manufacturing solutions, in action.”

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