Startasys demonstrates new robotic printer for aerospace and automotive manufacturing
1 September, 2016
The new printer, designed to print large scale components for aerospace and automotive manufacturing, was developed in cooperation with industry giants Ford and Boeing. The new technology could accelerate the spread of new production technologies
The understanding that the future of production lies in additive manufacturing is almost consensual. Yet 3D printing has yet to become a mainstream manufacturing method. One of the obstacles hindering the large scale industrial adaptation of additive manufacturing is the size – current 3D printer are cannot print large scale components. Israeli-American Stratasys, one of the leading 3D specialists worldwide, unveiled a technological solution to tackle this problem.
The company unveiled an industrial solution which is focused on two of the world’s most demanding industries: the automotive and aerospace industries. The system was developed in cooperation with automotive manufacturer Ford and Aerospace Boeing. The new systems edge leis in its ability to print components in any size, from a wide range of materials. Startasys’s new printer is so flexibale in the issue of size due to a technological breakthrough – vertical printing.
8 dimensional manufacturing
Stratasys dubbed its new technology Infinite Build. The technology quite literally turns current printing methods “on the side” – the ability to print vertically virtually lifts any limitations on the scale of objects printed by the novel 3D printer. “Additive manufacturing represents a great opportunity for Boeing and our customers, so we made a strategic decision more than a decade ago to work closely with Stratasys on this technology. 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. 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,” said Darryl Davis, President, Boeing Phantom Works.
Together with the novel Infinite Build printer, Stratasys demonstrated a robotic printer developed in cooperation with Siemens. The Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator delivers true 3D printing by using an 8-axis motion system that enables precise, directional material placement for strength while also reducing the need for speed-hindering support strategies. The unveiling of two industrial manufacturing technologies developed in cooperation with industrial giants is a further push by Stratasys to make additive manufacturing a common technology in large scale industrial production.
The Infinite Build printer is currently in development – a prototype will be demonstrated at the international manufacturing fair 2016IMTS in September. Stratasys has not yet published a road map or a timetable for commercial distribution. Nevertheless, the breaking of the “size barrier” is undoubtedly of great importance, and could prove to be a major stepping stone in what many perceive as a virtual industrial revolution.