Liechtenstein-based Coobx has developed a production-ready 3D printer called EXIGO based on its new patent-pending light initiated fabrication technology (LIFT). It is claimed that the EXIGO delivers a qualified end-to-end production process, tying in the pre-processing, printing and post-processing steps as a single, cohesive workflow.
LIFT enables accurate and reliable 3D printing of ultraviolet (UV) curable materials at speeds of up to 300 millimeters per hour (11.8in p/h). It incorporates several key operational functions that—working in tandem—allow for:
There are two operating modes for users to choose from, namely continuous and semi-continuous printing. In both modes, the required curing time and intensity, layer height and build speed are automatically calculated in real time, based on the actual printed layer.
Coobx, together with its material partners and suppliers, has developed a range of finite element method (FEM) calculable and lasting resins for LIFT.
The pre-processing step relates specifically to support generation. After 3D design files have been uploaded, the supplied support generation software—optimized for the EXIGO—can be used to ensure that an adequate arrangement of supports is in place for a successful print.
The post-processing step is concerned with the cleaning and finishing of parts. The EXIGO incorporates a separate clean and cure unit that matches the material properties of finished parts to the most suitable surface finishes.
There are two models of the EXIGO, one for medical use and the other for industrial use. The main difference between them is the build height; for the medical model, it is 110 millimeters (4.3in), and for the industrial model, it is 340 millimeters (13.4in).
Marco Schmid, chief executive officer (CEO) and head of research and development at Coobx, said: ‘LIFT is different, Coobx is different. We are always thinking [of] new ways […] to solve existing problems and find the most valuable solution. Putting the state-of-the-art bottom-up printing technology on the head back to top-down was a milestone in development. Together with the LIFE Zone (oxygen inhibition), it is an unbeatable team. Easy to handle, highly accurate and groundbreaking new material possibilities concerning viscosity and infill grade are possible.’
The EXIGO has been designed in anticipation of Industry 4.0. Coobx plans to launch a production line called LIFTCell in Q3 2017.