Since UnionTech stereolithography equipment was introduced to the North American market in 2016, RP America, an additive manufacturing support, service and equipment provider, has been instrumental in the testing of the equipment in the United States and collaborating with Union Tech Inc. on refinements beneficial to the U.S. market.
Projects in the pipeline include testing the right combination of equipment, materials and software for applications and techniques such as investment casting, tooling, light-weighting and microfluidics.
The RP America lab typically features anywhere from four to six machines from the UnionTech lineup, fully set up for printing, testing and development. The equipment ranges in size from the PILOT 250, with a 10 x 10 in. platform, to the RSPro 800, with a 32.5 x 32.5 in. platform.
The UnionTech equipment is based on an open platform, which has enabled a close collaboration with DSM Additive Manufacturing. DSM and RP America have worked together to develop build styles and material parameters for the DSM Somos of stereolithography materials on the UnionTech machines. The range of properties offered by Somos materials enables RP America to investigate a variety of applications, from Taurus for high-temperature applications, to NeXt for high impact resistance and durability, to PerFORM for tooling, to Element for investment casting. Because UnionTech equipment is open platform, users can run Somos materials, or any 355 nm photopolymer material.
A recent project strategically combined equipment, materials and software to demonstrate the capabilities of stereolithography technology. Using Somos WaterClear 10122, the operator at RP America built two architectural models on the UnionTech PILOT 450. One was built solid, and the second was hollowed with an internal lattice structure created with Materialise Magics software. The solid model was twice as heavy as the other, proving that users can save significantly on material costs while still maintaining structural integrity for models, displays and art pieces.
Coming up in the next few months, RP America will be conducting testing on the equipment using Somos PerFORM, a ceramic-filled material that is heat resistant. Working with customers, RP America will build and test tooling for injection molding to help users understand how to best employ UnionTech equipment for this application.