A new platform designed for low volume, continuous production and mass customisation has been unveiled by additive manufacturing and 3D printing company, Stratasys.
Revealed at the RAPID + TCT Show in Pittsburgh yesterday, the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator could represent a significant step forward in low-volume, continuous production using additive manufacturing technology.
The new platform is composed of a modular unit with multiple 3D print cells working simultaneously and driven by a central, cloud-based architecture. It has been designed to produce parts in a continuous stream with only minor operator intervention, automatically ejecting completed parts and commencing new ones.
Each 3D print cell can produce a different job to help enable mass customisation projects. Additional cells can also be added to increase production capacity as and when demand requires.
Additionally, integrated automatic queue management, load balancing and architecture redundancy aim to accelerate throughput as jobs are automatically routed to available print cells.
For example, should a single print cell fail, the job will be automatically rerouted to the next available cell. Commercial availability of the product has yet to be announced.
According to Stratasys, target applications include education rapid prototyping (RP) labs and environments that can benefit from zero tooling production and from a zero inventory supply chain.
Stratasys co-founder and chief innovation officer, Scott Crumb
“The Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is an important milestone in the company’s long term vision to make additive manufacturing a viable solution for volume production environments,” says Scott Crump,. “It combines our FDM print quality, GrabCAD control and monitoring, and a new multi-cell, scalable architecture to create a breakthrough manufacturing platform.”
Several designers and manufacturers, have already began using the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator to enhance their offerings and explore new business opportunities. These include: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); In’Tech Industries – a supplier of RP/additive manufacturing services; and FATHOM – an advanced manufacturer with pre-existing xperience in additive manufacturing technologies.
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