A few weeks ago, Raise3D introduced the new Pro2 series of 3D printers, now available for pre-order. According to the company, the new 3D printers are among the fastest dual-extruder 3D printers out there, and their accuracy is 16 times higher than the market standard. They’re user-friendly, reliable, and above all, they’re primed to, as Raise3D calls it, “Pathfind Flexible Manufacturing.”
Flexible manufacturing is the antidote to the kind of generic mass production that has become so much a part of our society over the last century. Demand is growing for individualized, personalized products that allow people to express themselves or to fulfill very specific needs, and 3D printing is helping to fulfill that need. Clusters of 3D printers, or 3D printer farms, are growing in popularity as a way to use 3D printing for small batch manufacturing, from one to a few thousand products, and this is the essence of flexible manufacturing. The key is flexibility – in the colors and materials used, in the parallel production of parts of different materials, and the parallel production of different batch sizes.
Flexible manufacturing is also an essential part of smart manufacturing, as defined by Deloitte University Press:
“The smart factory is a flexible system that can self-optimize performance across a broader network, self-adapt to and learn from new conditions in real or near-real time, and autonomously run entire production processes…The concept of adopting and implementing a smart factory solution can feel complicated, even insurmountable. However, rapid technology changes and trends have made the shift toward a more flexible, adaptive production system almost an imperative for manufacturers who wish to either remain competitive or disrupt their competition.”
According to Sculpteo’s State of 3D Printing 2017, the top priorities among respondents were “offering customized product and limited series” and “increasing production flexibility.” Those are exactly what flexible manufacturing is designed to do – to offer the benefits of both individualized design and small batch manufacturing capabilities.
Flexible manufacturing using FFF 3D printers offers a number of benefits over industrial additive manufacturing, including:
- Ease and speed of setup
- Fewer skills required to operate
- Material flexibility
- Less maintenance required
- Easy to scale up and upgrade
While Raise3D has no plans to abandon its successful N2 series, which is considered by independent sources to be one of the best 3D printers of 2018, it is priming its new Pro2 series to be a central part of the flexible manufacturing revolution. While it’s an impressive standalone 3D printer that can serve any individual well, the Pro2 is designed to be ideal for building 3D printer farms. With its large build area, it can 3D print products of a wide variety of sizes, while other features make it ideal for factory-like performance. Its design makes it easily stackable, and a resume print feature means that a power outage won’t disrupt production. It has wireless compatibility and a filament sensor, and let’s not forget the dual extruders, which offer multi-material or soluble support 3D printing capabilities.
Until the end of 2018, Raise3D will be preparing a customized offer for vertical markets. During this time, corporations interested in learning more about flexible manufacturing can contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Pro2 series is being officially launched at RAPID + TCT, which is taking place from April 23rd to 26th in Fort Worth, Texas.
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