For the past 28 years, 3D Systems has been delivering manufacturers, engineers and innovators some of the best plastic-based 3-D printers on the market.
Chuck Hull, company co-founder, CTO and inventor of its defining stereolithography technology, was instrumental in the birth of the whole 3-D printing industry, giving the world its first taste of rapid prototyping way back in the 1980s and then helping to bring that additive polymer system into its place in today's hype-fuelled spotlight.
But now the company is up to something new.
At IMTS 2014 next week, attendees will catch a glimpse at 3D Systems' first industrial-grade direct metal printer.
Designed to meet the demands of the manufacturing floor, the ProX 200 Direct Metal Printer is capable of producing chemically pure, fully dense metal and ceramic parts that produce parts with accuracy compatible with EN ISO 2768 machining tolerances and with a repeatability of about 20 microns. It does so across a range of materials spanning from titanium, steel, aluminum and ceramics.
It marks a major jump from the days of rapid prototyping into the hardcore manufacturing demands of the machine tool world.
"In a fiercely competitive world, it is vitally important for manufacturers in every industry to incorporate the most advanced production tools available today," explains Avi Reichental, president and CEO of 3D Systems, who will be speaking at the show.
"Our 3D design and manufacturing products and services enable manufacturers to become nimbler and transform their businesses by shortening their time to value."
The Full 3D Systems Family
Joining the ProX printer in 3D Systems' booth will be a host of technologies and tools ready to be put to work in the industrial and engineering settings.
Among them are:
• The ProJet 5500X, which simultaneously prints and fuses together flexible and rigid material composites layer by layer in a variety of colors and shades, including opaque, clear, black or white and numerous shades of gray.
• The ProJet 3500 HDMax, with its large build envelope and high speed printing mode, produces high definition, performance-grade functional plastic parts in record time.
• The CubePro series of 3D printers, which feature the largest print volume in its class and multi-material capability. With three models for single, double or triple print heads for up to three colors, the sub-$5,000, professional-quality, desktop 3D printer series offers a controlled environment print chamber to ensure hi-fidelity, true-to-design, quality results.
• And finally, the company is showcasing its end-to-end digital thread, which enables users to reverse engineer objects, recreate and improve upon existing objects in a design environment, and physically reproduce objects on demand.
The company will demonstrate this process at IMTS with its Geomagic Capture 3D scanner, the industry’s first integrated scan-based design and inspection solution, along with its suite of Geomagic software solutions and its new release of Geomagic Verify software for first-article part inspection.