Most of the new 3D printers and 3D printing technologies in this crop are breaking some boundaries, whether it's build volume-per-dollar ratios, multimaterials printing techniques, or new materials types. Like last time, most of them come from countries outside the US. This group includes some new R&D developments, just so you know what may be coming.
Three of the new printing technologies feature very different approaches to multimaterials 3D printing, ranging from precise microstructures, to multiple resin vats, to a new printhead for active microfluidic mixing that produces parts with gradient architectures. Sadly, they're all recent inventions so you can't buy any just yet. Another R&D project, from a major chemicals company, is a new method for 3D printing silicone.
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But one new commercially available technology comes from an Italian industrial 3D printer maker that has figured out a way to extrude clay. We also tell you about some new desktops, and a 3D printer with a build size big enough to print a child.
Also commercially available, the first technology in our slideshow may change what's possible in making production-quality, ultra-strong composite parts for end-use applications like aerospace, single-use medical devices, and oil & gas. The robotic additive manufacturing platform combines composite deposition end-effector hardware plus a software suite, and works with ABB robots. The build envelope is scalable up to 8 cubic meters, depending on robot size. Arevo Labs, the platform's supplier, recently launched its commercial, on-demand service for manufacturing 3D-printed, optimized, carbon composite production parts based on PEEK (polyether ether ketone) and PAEK (polyaryletherketone) thermoplastics.
Click on the image below to start the slideshow:
Arevo Labs in Silicon Valley has debuted a robotic additive manufacturing (RAM) platform for 3D printing composite parts that works with commercially available robots. Depending on robot size, build envelope is scalable from 1,000 cubic mm to 8 cubic m. The platform's multi-axis toolpaths enable production-quality carbon fiber composite parts constructed with 3D surfaces in variable orientations. Tailored for use with ABB's IRB 120 6-axis robot, the platform includes composite deposition end-effector hardware plus a software suite. The scalable software also supports larger ABB robot models and sizes. It consists of CAM software for converting CAD models to a set of additive deposition instructions for the robot, and a precise kinematics simulator that interprets deposition instructions to validate and optimize part construction. The RAM Platform interfaces with ABB's RobotStudio programming and simulation software. The additive end-effector hardware consists of a deposition head with advanced thermal management technology for processing high-performance, carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic.
(Source: Arevo Labs)
Ann R. Thryft is senior technical editor, materials & assembly, for Design News. She's been writing about manufacturing- and electronics-related technologies for 27 years, covering manufacturing materials & processes, alternative energy, and robotics. In the past, she's also written about machine vision and all kinds of communications.
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