Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Essentium Launches New HSE 3D Printer with Independent Dual Extruders

HP

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Following years of research, Essentium has launched a new 3D printer designed and developed for the demands of the factory floor. Essentium’s newest High Speed Extrusion (HSE) 3D printer, known as the HSE 280i HT, is built on independent dual extrusion system (IDEX) technology, enabling manufacturers to speed the time to industrial-scale production of parts, even for complex geometric shapes, while significantly reducing post-processing costs. Essentium also revealed new high-performance materials for chemically-resistant and low-surface-energy 3D printed parts.

A Texas innovator of industrial AM solutions, Essentium wants to change how things are made. Focused on disrupting traditional manufacturing processes by bringing speed and strength together, at scale, with a no-compromise material set, the company says it is committed to creating industrial solutions for the world’s top manufacturers. Now, the company turned to breakthrough IDEX technology to offer users “the ultimate machine tool to 3D print at scale.”

Known as a unique architecture technology for 3D printers, IDEX is based on individual extruders that can move independently along the X-axis. However, Essentium claims that, unlike other IDEX 3D printers on the market, HSE 280i HT features “true independent dual extruders,” which means each head is fully independent on both the X- and Y-axes. Doubling productivity compared to conventional desktop 3D printers, IDEX technology was created by the Barcelona-based research group BCN3D in 2015 and has become a standard of extrusion that other manufacturers apply to their own systems.

Essentium’s HSE 280i HT 3D printer. Image courtesy of Essentium.

Revealed on April 27, 2021, the HSE 280i HT printer was built to transform manufacturing floors and solve AM challenges related to speed, strength, and scale. Essentium considers these limitations have held back the shift from prototyping to full-scale production runs in industries like aerospace, electronics, automotive, contract manufacturing, and consumer goods. Claiming to deliver world-class print speeds of more than 500 mm per second – which is 15 times faster than its competition – the platform leverages a non-slip, high-torque extrusion system with all linear servo motors.

Differing from most fused filament fabrication (FFF) processes that rely on a heated build chamber, the HSE 280i HT 3D uses a multimodal heating method designed to heat the part, eliminating the need for manufacturers to wait for the chamber to heat up to start printing. Essentium believes that there is an increasing interest in using 3D printing, even on the FFF level, for end-use parts and not just a single unit, but even for a short series of production parts. So, in that regard, it expects the new technology to achieve twice the productivity of similar FFF solutions, making it appealing for serial production applications.

“The manufacturing industry is increasingly moving toward a leaner and more agile future enabled by AM. This is the beginning of radical change, where billions will be saved through new economic and production models. But this change requires continuous and unrelenting innovation to be able to do things not done before, to make parts that haven’t been made before – and manufacture things that haven’t been manufactured before,” described Essentium’s CEO Blake Teipel.

Intended to address both the speed and strength issues with traditional fused deposition modeling (FDM) and FFF 3D printers, Essentium’s new platform is foremost built upon its High Speed Extrusion technology. Revealed in late 2018 and designed to extrude material at high speeds, the HSE AM system allows manufacturers to design, prototype, and produce final parts at scale on the same technology using the same materials and the same machine. The brand’s flagship printer, the HSE 180, was launched on the market in 2019, and later that year, Essentium received a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to advance its HSE AM technology to support the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

The Phase II project was an ideal opportunity for the startup to identify critical components relevant to support the USAF, including ground support systems, service components, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) equipment, and demonstrate the ability to 3D print these parts on-site and on-demand with verified digital build files. Essentium told 3DPrint.com that as a result of the award, its team of engineers still test and develop new materials and processes using the HSE and certify new materials.

Essentium’s HSE 280i HT 3D printer. Image courtesy of Essentium.

In fact, aside from its novel 3D printer, Essentium also announced a new high-performance material to help manufacturers realize the full potential of industrial-scale AM and deliver on its commitment to creating a global, open ecosystem that puts users in control of their innovation. Developed in partnership with German chemical specialists at the LEHVOSS Group, Essentium PP-CF is a 20% carbon fiber reinforced polypropylene filament made with high-performance, thermoplastic LUVOCOM 3F resin from LEHVOSS’ 3D printing material line launched in 2018.

Designed to deliver excellent mechanical performance combined with outstanding printability, the new material is expected to offer excellent chemical resistance and low surface energy, making it useful for silicone and urethane molding applications. Essentium PP-CF will allow manufacturers to print chemically resistant, low surface energy parts with greater strength and stiffness than unreinforced polyolefins.

Both the 3D printer and materials were revealed just in time for Essentium’s upcoming virtual showroom experience. The online space launching May 2, 2021, was uniquely designed to give 3D printing users, enthusiasts, and interested customers an inside look into all things Essentium from anywhere in the world. From product launches to real customer stories and white papers, even a portal for webinars, up-to-date news, and events, the innovative virtual platform will be a great way to engage anyone interested in the company’s technology.

Essentium’s virtual showroom experience. Image courtesy of Essentium.

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