Binder jet 3D printing leader ExOne (Nasdaq: XONE) just reported revenue losses for Q1 2021. However, it remains optimistic for an “economic rebound,” which could be aided by an expanding printer distribution footprint. The company has added four new experienced sales partners in the US and Canada. These companies, which also sell technology from SOLIDWORKS, Stratasys, and others, will help ExOne extend its reach in new product segments across North America. In addition, these four new authorized channel partners, which altogether have more than 60 offices combined between them, also have prior experience selling metal 3D printers that compete with ExOne’s own technology, so will know which customers are in the market for entry-level metal binder jetting and related equipment and services.
“We are delighted to welcome such knowledgeable and accomplished partners to the ExOne team. As manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada look to shorten supply chains and localize production of more products, our entry-level metal printing systems are a great way to get started with bound metal 3D printing technologies that deliver high-quality parts at an affordable price,” said ExOne’s CEO John Hartner in a press release. “Our new extended team is ready to hit the ground running with proven products that perform quickly with ease.”
ExOne’s four new channel partners are Computer Aided Technology (CATI), which is based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois; TriMech Solutions out of Richmond, Virginia; the Irvine, California-based Purple Platypus; and Javelin Technologies, a TriMech company out of Oakville, Ontario. These companies will sell ExOne’s two entry-level printers—the ExOne Innovent+ metal binder jetting system and the Metal Designlab by Rapidia—which fabricate bound metal parts from ceramic, metal, and composite powdered materials, that need a final sintering to ensure the geometric freedom for which 3D printing is known.
According to the release, the Innovent+, which has an open-materials system and a smaller footprint than ExOne’s InnoventPro, is the “best-selling and most installed and researched metal binder jet system” in the world, using the company’s patented Triple Advanced Compaction Technology (ACT) for highly accurate dispensing, spreading, and compacting of ultra-fine MIM powders in the bed. The printer is said to offer great surface finish, final post-sintering dimensional tolerances of +/- 2.5%, and high densities of at least 97%. Additionally, the Innovent+ is well complemented by ExOne’s X1F advanced furnace.
When the furnace is paired with the ExOne Metal Designlab, the two make up what ExOne says is the “fastest, office-safe” metal binder jet system. The Designlab extrudes metal materials that have been pre-bound in the water-based HydroFuse paste, which makes design easier and processing time quicker, and rather than having to go through a lengthy chemical or thermal debinding process, the parts go directly into the furnace, which definitely speeds things up.
These new sales partners are not the only interesting news that ExOne is sharing: the company is also partnering with metal and polymer AM powder removal and processing systems supplier Solukon Maschinenbau GmbH on a new depowdering station to use with its X1 160Pro metal binder jetting printer. Germany-based Solukon is manufacturing the X1DPS 160 station, not too far from where ExOne’s German facility is producing the X1 160Pro printer itself.
ExOne frequently partners with its ancillary equipment and process providers, like Solukon, so that it can remain focused on the number one priority of expanding and improving its core business of binder jet technology.
“We are delighted about our new collaboration,” said Andreas Hartmann, Co-Founder and Technical Director of Solukon. “ExOne’s complete metal system is exemplary thought out and groundbreaking. It is great to become a part of this production AM technology.”
Launching the new X1 160Pro, which began shipping to customers in Q1 2021, meant that ExOne would need to come up with some new powder handling solutions for larger volumes of power use and reuse. That’s where the X1DPS 160 comes in—designed to work directly with build boxes from the industrial printer, the new ergonomically designed depowdering station makes the process more efficient. Once a print job is complete, the box is then moved to the station, with its sealed, stainless steel chamber, safety monitoring equipment, integrated HEPA filtration system, and a vacuum and air gun for cleaning parts. The X1DPS 160 has glove ports on both sides for quick depowdering of the build box, and a semi-automatic, servo-driven Z-Axis is used to lift the box. Any unused powder is connected right to a powder recycling system for a more sustainable solution.
“Comfortable, safe and efficient unpacking of 3D printed parts is the prerequisite for productive work flow. In order to address this issue, we are happy to have Solukon as a leading expert in the design of peripheral additive manufacturing equipment,” said Andreas Nagy, Vice President of Printing Systems at ExOne & Managing Director ExOne GmbH.
(Images: ExOne unless otherwise noted)
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