Stratasys previews Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator

The Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator shown in a nine-cell configuration

USA-based Stratasys is previewing its Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator—described as a multi-cell additive manufacturing (AM) platform for continuous production—at RAPID + TCT. The platform is currently under development and commercial availability has yet to be announced.

As its description implies, the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator comprises multiple 3D printing cells that work simultaneously and are driven by a central, cloud-based architecture. It produces parts in a continuous stream and requires minimal operator intervention, automatically ejecting finished parts and starting new ones.

Jobs are automatically routed to available print cells. If a cell fails, the job is rerouted to the next available cell. Furthermore, each cell is capable of working on a different part to help enable mass customization (MC) projects.

The number of cells is dependent on the manufacturer’s requirements. Additional cells can be added later on to accommodate an increase in demand.

The platform is currently being trialed by a number of Stratasys customers, including:

  • FATHOM, a USA-based provider of 3D printing, tooling, injection molding, CNC machining, urethane casting services;
  • In’Tech Industries, a USA-based provider of 3D printing, engineering, tooling and injection molding services; and
  • the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a USA-based nonprofit art and design university.

FATHOM has been using a six-cell configuration of the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator to scale-up production. Many of the company’s customers are using AM technologies such as fused deposition modeling (FDM) for high-value, end-use applications. The platform has significantly increased throughput, allowing for the realization of greater FDM part volumes in shorter lead times.

In’Tech Industries has been using the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator as a ‘bridge-to-production solution’ for its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. The platform enables the company to offer same-day or next-day delivery of identical or mixed parts that are destined to be injection molded.

SCAD has been using the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator to increase learning opportunities in AM. In particular, the scalability afforded by the platform has benefitted both students and professors focused on advanced design projects.

Scott Crump, Stratasys co-founder and chief innovation officer, said: ‘The Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is an important milestone in the company’s long-term vision to make additive manufacturing a viable solution for volume production environments. It combines our FDM print quality, GrabCAD control and monitoring and a new multi-cell, scalable architecture to create a breakthrough manufacturing platform.’  

Stratasys is displaying the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator for the duration of RAPID + TCT, in Pittsburgh, USA, on May 8-12, 2017.

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