If you are a visitor at the RAPID 2016 convention in Orlando this week from May 16-19th, then you are probably in a state of complete overstimulation from the vast amount of incredible technology on display, along with the enormity of new announcements, unveilings, and releases. Our team from 3DPrint.com is on hand at the show all week, and there is certainly no shortage of exciting news already.
Just the information coming from EnvisionTEC alone may be enough to keep you busy for an afternoon, in fact. And you won’t want to miss their booth, #711, where you can be the first to check out SLCOM 1, the first industrial-scale 3D printer for the production of woven fiber composite parts. EnvisionTEC states that this new machine is their biggest innovation for the year, and we’re certainly curious to find out more, as well as delving further into some of their other news.
EnvisionTEC is the company that brought us the first DLP 3D printer in 2002, and now they announce another first with the SLCOM 1 and its new patent pending process, selective lamination composite object manufacturing. This new technology is unique in that it allows for industrial building of layer-by-layer laminated thermoplastic composite fabric sheets distributed from a roll. Completely unique in this ability, the SLCOM can 3D print objects up to 24″ x 30″ with a 24″ height.
Materials compatible with the printer, just to name a few, include:
- Nylon 6
- Nylon 11
- Nylon 1
“We are proud to introduce the first disruptive industrial-scale, composites 3D printer. This represents a paradigm shift for manufacturing, especially where demanding mechanical and environmental properties can only be delivered from woven composites,” said Al Siblani, CEO of EnvisionTEC.
Allowing for powerful use of all the 3D printing benefits, customization and high quality of parts will make this new technology attractive for use in aerospace, automotive, consumer products, sporting goods, and potential applications in the medical space. The EnvisionTEC team states that composites can be tailored for exceptional toughness, environmental resistance, vibration dampening, low flammability characteristics, high wear resistance, and high strength to weight ratio.
“It is exciting to consider the extensive range of new applications that the SLCOM 3D printing technology will open up. EnvisionTEC has long been a pioneer in 3D printing innovations and we believe that this entry into the composites space will propel industrial 3D printing to a host of new applications,” said Siblani.
And while many of the mega-companies in the 3D industry are exhibiting at RAPID, again, EnvisionTEC is certainly garnering their share of attention—with yet another launch to announce their 3D-Bioplotter Starter Series and their upgraded 3D-Bioplotter Developer Series, meant for researchers and scientists.
“We’re excited about the new addition to the 3D-Bioplotter line-up, the enhanced user management flow and the new inner structure patterns,” said Carlos Carvalho, Process and Material Development Specialist for EnvisionTEC. “For more than 15 years, our 3D-Bioplotter technology has been in the pre-clinical setting, yielding over 150 publications and gaining the trust of customers worldwide as an excellent research and production tool.”
While it may just be coming more into the public eye—and especially now at RAPID—the bioplotter technology has actually been in use for 16 years already. EnvisionTEC states that ‘pre-eminent scientists’ from the materials science, imaging, and toxicology disciplines have already been putting the 3D-Bioplotter to use, allowing for scans such as CTs and MRIs to be converted to 3D models and then made into medical implants.
EnvisionTEC has just released information regarding updates to the 3D-Bioplotter software, to include:
- New inner structure patterns
- Material life time control
- Improved surface finish of fabricated parts
- Generation of volume support structures for complex shapes
- A new user management flow to share projects, materials and patterns
- And much more
“With the release of this software, the 3D-Bioplotter is no longer limited to printing straight, parallel strands; instead zig-zag, wave hexagon and space-filling pattern can be assigned to individual 3D shapes to create more complex and organic inner structures,” said Carvalho.
The whole motivation behind this new technology was in appealing to smaller labs working in bioprinting. What makes the 3D-Bioplotter line-up unique is that it offers:
- Two fixed, non-modular high temperature heads with adapters for low temperature cartridges
- A non-temperature controlled platform
- A built-in PC
- Inaccessible platform height control sensor
“We developed the Starter Series to provide a new generation of Tissue Engineering researchers the same stellar performance both Manufacturer and Developer Series 3D-Bioplotter are known for,” said Carvalho. “With a maximum of two materials, or cell types, per object, our Starter Series is designed for customers with few requirements in parallel material processing and automation.”
The Developer Series has been upgraded to mid-level, now including a sterile filter, a third parking position, a total of two printing heads, as well as capability for temperature control of the printing platform.
“This is one of our most exciting milestones within the 3D-Bioplotter technology and we’ll continue to expand our research developments to continuously assist educational institutions, researchers, scientist and medical practitioners with 3D printing advancements,” said Carvalho.
Also just announced, EnvisionTEC and Viridis3D, a supplier of additive manufacturing technology for making sand molds and cores for foundry applications, are forming an exclusive partnership. This strategic pairing should benefit their customers worldwide as they will now, thanks to EnvisionTEC and Viridis3D working together, have access to 3D printing with streamlined casting. This will be possible due to Viridis3D’s unique technology, to be integrated into EnvisionTEC’s 3D printing platform.
“EnvisionTEC is a global leader in 3D printing with significant innovative resources and a global market presence that will provide a significant boost to Viridis3D initiatives,” said Viridis3D President Will Shambley. “We have a great product targeted at the sand casting industry and with the assistance of EnvisionTEC, we’ll be able to successfully develop and commercialize a full range of products to meet our customers’ variety of needs.”
The partnership is significant because it will allow continued development of this rather new industry promoting 3D printing and sand casting together—for ferrous and non-ferrous alloys.
“This will bring to the sand casting and investment casting industries a unique solution,” said Chief Operating Officer of EnvisionTEC John Hartner. “Our partnership to unite innovative, industry-leading products and services to our expanding customer base will provide global solutions that save time and reduce cost, all while increasing output performance.”
EnvisionTEC completed their first patent submission in 1999, and since then has developed and released numerous 3D print solutions consisting of 3D printers, print materials and replacement parts, as well as training and other services. Their proprietary, multi-platform technology delivers high precision, speed, surface quality and functionality and uses a wide range of materials at high production speeds. EnvisionTEC works with strong customer and partner bases in diverse sectors, including jewelry, hearing aids, dental, consumer, auto manufacturing and design companies
See EnvisionTEC for more information on all their latest technologies, partnerships, and more. Discuss all these new developments in the EnvisionTEC Launches New 3D Printer & More forum over at 3DPB.com.