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3D Systems targets production AM with new technology releases

New SLS workflows, DMP systems, materials and more

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Thanks to Formnext, November is among the hottest months for the additive manufacturing industry, bringing with it many partnership announcements and new product releases. 3D Systems, a leading AM company, is certainly not shying away from the action with a slew of announcements and releases. Not only is the company introducing new high-throughput 3D printing technologies, it is also releasing a new production-grade photopolymer and has revealed a new partnership focused on post-processing.

Industry-ready SLS workflow

To begin, the company has introduced a next-generation SLS workflow that integrates 3D Systems’ new SLS 380 with 3D Sprint, DuraForm materials and post-processing solutions from AMT. The new solution is tailored for cost-effective batch production, with a particular emphasis on consistency, performance and yield. At the basis of the industrial SLS workflow is the SLS 380, a 3D printer built for “high levels of repeatability, improved throughput and reduced operating costs.” The system integrates a number of notable features, including a custom algorithm that manages eight individually calibrated heaters and an integrated high-res IR camera capable of capturing over 100,000 thermal data samples per second for optimal thermal stability in the build chamber. The new 3D printer will become available in Q1 2022.

The workflow also includes a new Material Quality Control system, the MQC 600, which ensures that printers are equipped with the best ratio of fresh to recycled powder. The MQC system also delivers material to as many as four printers at once, increasing overall production automation. Rounding out the SLS solution is AMT’s PostPro industrial SLS post-processing system, which comes with automated de-powdering and chemical vapor smoothing. 3D Systems will be reselling the AMT product line to provide its customers with high-level post-processing for SLS parts.

3D Systems Formnext 2021
The DMP Factory 350 Dual comes with integrated powder management and a two-laser configuration

New additions to DMP portfolio

3D Systems is further expanding its Direct Metal Printing (DMP) portfolio with the launch of the DMP Flex 350 Dual and DMP Factory 350 Dual. Both systems are equipped with two lasers which contribute to speedier build times (up to 50% faster) and lower production costs. Like its single-laser counterpart, the new DMP Flex 350 Dual comes with quick-swap build modules, while the DMP Factory 350 Dual is equipped with integrated powder recycling. Both systems have a central server to facilitate print job and material management and maintenance.

In addition to the dual laser DMP systems, 3D Systems has also introduced a new configuration, the DMP Flex 200, tailored for the dental market. The compact 3D printer  is designed to produce small, finely detailed metal parts for dental applications, including next-day removable partial dentures, crowns, bridges and implant bars. Updates to the system include a larger build volume (140 x 140 x 115 mm) and a build plate clamping mechanism that eliminates the need for screw management in the build chamber. 3D Systems expects to make the new metal AM systems available in Q1 2022.

DMP system customers will also be able to benefit from updated 3DXpert 17 software. The platform, developed by Oqton (acquired by 3D Systems in September 2021), is a integrated tool designed for prepping and optimizing parts for DfAM, resulting in faster production times and enhanced part precision. The new software version, to become available in Q4 2021, is tailored for higher yields and faster print times and will be integrated with 3D Systems’ AM software suite.

A new Figure 4 material for automotive and industrial

3D Systems Formnext 2021
Under-the-hood sensor housing 3D printed from Figure 4 140C Black

Rounding out 3D Systems’ series of announcements is the launch of Figure 4 Rigid 140C Black, a new industrial material for its Figure 4 platform. The new material is a two-part epoxy/acrylate hybrid material with long-term mechanical stability and good resistance. Targeted at the automotive and industrial segments, Figure 4 Rigid 140C Black is made with patented filler and offers end users toughness comparable to injection molded polybutylene glass fiber parts.

The new material also has a 124°C @1.82MPa HDT, making it suitable for under-the-hood and internal automotive components, including end-use clips, covers, connectors, housings, electrical latchings and more. In the industrial sector, the material’s friction properties make it ideal for the production of levers, knobs, clutches and more. Notably, the new Figure 4 material only requires a three-hour thermal post cure (at 135°C)—about 75% faster than curing times for similar materials on competing systems— and eliminates the need for salt packing, which is often required for similar materials.

3D Systems at Formnext 2021

3D Systems will be showcasing many of its new solutions and existing ones at Formnext 2021 this week. You can find its booth in Hall 12.1 D101.

“We’re excited to be able to meet with our industry colleagues, collaborators, and customers here at Formnext and introduce new product enhancements in our additive manufacturing portfolio,” commented Dr. David Leigh, CTO for additive manufacturing at 3D Systems. “We remain committed to investing in our core technologies that help our customers tackle the toughest production applications. As we approach the end of the year, we’re looking forward to the future with great anticipation and the realization that we can’t accomplish this by ourselves. We see tremendous opportunities to collaborate with others in the industry to bring together our products and expertise – fundamentally transforming the solutions we provide to help change the world of additive manufacturing.”

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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