3D Systems Figure 4 Platform Aims to Move AM Users to Full Production
Figure 4 combines technology, software and materials to transition customers from using 3D printing for rapid prototyping to full production.
3D Systems’ Figure 4 platform is a modular, scalable and fully-integrated direct 3D production platform. Available in stand-alone and production configurations, it combines services, technology, materials and software designed to help customers move from rapid prototyping to full production. According to the company, the platform’s high-speed digital molding process speeds and simplifies the production of plastic parts, enabling manufacturers to match the accuracy, reliability, repeatability and uptime of traditional injection molding. Combined with production-grade materials, the platform is said to improve throughput by as much as 15 times versus competitive offerings, with cost reductions as much as 20 percent over current manufacturing processes.
The hardware lineup includes four models designed to meet the needs of various production environments. The Production model is customizable and automated, enabling customers to build the same or similar functional production parts in high volume via an in-line production configuration with integrated postprocessing. The Modular is an upgradable solution with automated materials-handling, centralized postprocessing and the ability produce multiple different parts simultaneously. The Standalone is an industrial-grade single engine solution for low-volume production and rapid functional prototyping in small design shops and OEMs. Dental is a single-engine, independent 3D printer with centralized postprocessing designed for dental production, prototyping and sacrificial casting.
To increase productivity and efficiency, all configurations are integrated with the company’s 3D Sprint and 3D Connect software. 3D Sprint addresses aspects of print preparation including CAD model repair, automatic placement and support of the part on the print platform, while being able to submit and monitor jobs in the print queue. Cloud-based 3D Connect is designed to deliver proactive and predictive serviceability for production. Its 3D Connect Service component provides a secure connection to a service team for preventative and proactive scheduled maintenance. The 3D Connect Manage feature lets customers securely and remotely monitor the status of printers, as well as view and analyze data.
The company is also launching 15 industrial and dental materials. The functional plastics only require curing in bright light, delivering as much as 15 times faster throughput, the company says. All materials feature the same durability as traditionally manufactured parts.
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