In 2015, digital inkjet technology developer Xaar plc made the decision to expand its focus to the additive manufacturing sector, and has really been upping its game recently. Xaar introduced a new bundle option, Materialise software included, with its additive manufacturing development kit, and is now a member of an Innovate UK-funded consortium to develop AMT’s automated, intelligent post-processing machine. Just a few months ago, the company announced that it would be opening a new 3D Centre in Nottingham, and we’ve learned that the center officially opened for business in the Nottingham Science Park yesterday. Professor Neil Hopkinson, the original inventor of High Speed Sintering (HSS) technology and Xaar’s Director of 3D Printing, led the team behind Xaar’s new facility; the team was also expanded to include a group of Copenhagen engineers.
At the official opening event, guests were treated to a facility tour, which included Xaar’s HSS machines and associated equipment for quality control/inspection, pre-processing, and post-processing. Around 30 guests attended the event, including representatives from BAE Systems and Jaguar Land Rover. The facility will develop applications and materials, in collaboration with Xaar’s global brand partners. Thanks to the team’s experience in both Copenhagen and Nottingham, the new Xaar 3D Center will be able to provide “the most comprehensive services available globally for High Speed Sintering technology.”
Doug Edwards, Xaar’s CEO, said, “We were delighted to welcome to our Official Opening visitors from a number of organizations across the supply chain. The 3D sector is an important part of our 2020 strategy, and, with this new 3D Centre, some exciting growth opportunities will be available to Xaar.”
HSS technology uses infrared heaters and inkjet printheads to 3D print products, using polymer powder materials, and is engineered to perform at lower costs and higher speeds than other 3D printing processes, making the technology a good fit for companies who need to 3D print in high volume. The company optimistically looks to HSS as a key to taking additive manufacturing into the mainstream, which is a goal of many companies these days.
“There is no doubt that High Speed Sintering technology can transform 3D Printing from a low volume prototyping solution to a mainstream manufacturing process. The step change to high volume manufacturing will be most efficiently achieved through partnerships with committed stakeholders across the supply chain. Our new 3D Centre in Nottingham is the ideal location for such partnerships to flourish,” said Professor Hopkinson.
In addition to the HSS technology, Xaar is also an award-winning manufacturer of piezoelectric drop-on-demand industrial inkjet printheads, and its technology is used globally in a range of manufacturing applications, from ceramic tiles and outer case coding to graphics and 3D printing.
The Nottingham Science Park, where the Xaar 3D Centre is located, was specifically designed to increase quality of life and productivity, and inspire creativity, for the innovative companies that call it home. Private development company Blueprint, which specializes in developing sustainable workspaces and homes, reclaimed twelve unused acres of land by the Nottingham Science Park in 2006, with a vision to make an environment that would be dedicated to nature and people, and not ugly parking lots.
The Park focuses on ecology, design integrity, and energy efficiency, and is a good spot for forward-thinking organizations, like automotive academy Toyota/Central College Training Centre and No.1 Nottingham Science Park, home to several regional green-tech companies. It is adjacent to the University of Nottingham, which has been very active in the 3D technology scene, having recently turned to both 3D scanning and 3D printing to solve complex problems. Discuss in the Xaar forum at 3DPB.com.
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