Figure 4

Launched in November 2017, 3D Systems’ Figure 4 has promised to disrupt the polymer additive manufacturing market and potentially manufacturing on the whole. The system, based on a non-contact Digital Light Printing (DLP) technology, delivers the fastest AM throughout and time-to-part rates currently on the market, reaching part print speeds of up 65 mm/h and prototyping speeds of up to 100 mm/h.

In addition to its rapid print speeds, the Figure 4 boasts a modular and highly scalable configuration, enabling manufacturers to easily add printing units (called “engines”) to increase production capacity. The Figure 4 also includes automated post-processing and light-based UV curing stations, which allows for the technology to turn out dimensionally stable and finely textured finished products.

This fully-integrated approach to polymer AM has led 3D Systems to coin the term “digital molding,” which refers to the Figure 4’s capacity to transform a digital input file into a finished product in record time. By doing away with the need for costly tooling steps, Digital molding is being positioned as a viable alternative to traditional injection molding processes and has been shown to be faster and more cost-effective for mid-volume non-structural part manufacturing.

As industries such as dental, automotive, aerospace and electronics seek ways to bridge prototyping and production, 3D Systems’ Figure 4 offers a novel solution. According to 3D Systems, the Figure 4 is just the beginning of the digital molding impact, as it continues to evolve its technology and develop new, industrial-grade materials.

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