In a recent press release, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced that its fab-grade 3D printers effectively matched and exceeded the productivity of traditional injection molding in the direct manufacture of functional parts.
According to the company, this feat opens up the possibility of just-in-time, high volume, flexible additive manufacturing using the company’s precision Stereolithography (SLA®) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS®) manufacturing printers, enabling manufacturers to produce functional, precision parts in seconds, without the need for tooling or a lengthy supply chain.
So the company is announcing that a number of its 3D printers are faster than earlier versions, fast enough to compete with injection molding in many applications. According to the company, the announced production speed records are shifting the manufacturing paradigm from low volume production to high volume direct manufacturing of complex parts across a range of use cases and industries.
What the company engineers are doing is adding more lasers, and adding lasers with a larger resolution to bind or print a wider area of material.
“Our unwavering commitment to customer success through innovation has literally broken the mold this time – challenging the myth that 3D printing can’t match the productivity of injection molding,” said Cathy Lewis, 3DS’ CMO. “This is just the beginning. We are working on additional applications that defy traditional manufacturing constraints, allowing our customers to go from idea to product in hours, instead of months – to truly manufacture the future.”
The issue of speed with additive manufacturing machines has been an issue, so any improvement in productivity speed is a good thing for this industry.