Stratasys Push 3D Manufacturing of Composite Materials
21 August, 2018
Stratasys announced the shipment of a new affordable $70,000 additive manufacturing system, dedicated for carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12
Photo above: Team Penske uses Stratasys FDM and carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12 in IndyCar for strong, lightweight parts
The US-Israeli Stratasys, announced the shipment of a new affordable $70,000 additive manufacturing system dedicated for carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12, called Fortus 380mc Carbon Fiber Edition. The composite material market experience a year-over-year growth between 8 to 12 percent.
Carbon fiber composite applications and carbon fiber reinforced polymers are considered clean energy technologies by the U.S. Department of Energy because they enable “light-weighting,” which reduces energy consumption. It’s estimated that each 10% reduction in vehicle mass drives a 6%-8% increase in fuel economy. Until recently, Stratasys offered the material only on high-end production 3D printers ($200K-$350K range).
“Our customers are pushing us for easier access to carbon fiber,” says Stratasys Senior VP of Sales, Pat Carey. “They’ve told us they want an affordable solution in an industrial-quality system. So we’re now offering a more accessible system that’s based on our Fortus 380mc platform, that is dedicated only to carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12 and one other material.”
For both its IndyCar and NASCAR race cars, Team Penske uses FDM to produce prototypes and end-use parts from carbon-fiber-filled Nylon 12 composite material. The team recently used the composite to produce a mirror housing for its NASCAR race teams. After designing the mirror housing, engineers then customized the design for each of their Cup Series drivers before building the final parts from the composite via FDM. The carbon-fiber-based material enabled Team Penske to produce lightweight mirror housings with high impact resistance and high stiffness.
The Fortus 380mc CFE is based on a proven platform. It builds parts in 0.010 in. (0.254 mm) layer thickness. The system is also compatible with ASA thermoplastic, for which is can build in either 0.010 or .005 in. (0.127 mm) layer thicknesses. The 3D printer’s build chamber measures 14 x 12 x 12 in. (355 x 305 x 305 mm).