Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Formlabs Completes Large-Format SLA Ecosystem with Automated Post-Processing

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Double unicorn 3D printing company Formlabs is jumping on the AM post-processing bandwagon with the launch of its Form Wash L and Form Cure L today, completing its large-format SLA ecosystem with automated equipment. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Autodesk to streamline digital workflows for 3D printing, and with the addition of this new post-processing hardware, Formlabs is now focused on giving users a more streamlined workflow for large-format 3D printing so that they can enjoy more automation and ease of use for large-scale production purposes.

The company’s large-format AM ecosystem was designed with users specifically in mind in order to give them a more intuitive experience while also increasing throughput, and this pair of fully automated post-processing systems is the final feather in the cap of the end-to-end solution for the Form 3L and Form 3BL printers—setting the platform up to become what Formlabs calls “the ideal 3D printing solution for cost-effective, in-house, large-scale production.”

“The introduction of our large format printers, Form 3L and Form 3BL, enabled Formlabs to open up our industry-leading SLA 3D printing technology to a whole new group of users at an accessible price while maintaining the professional quality Formlabs is known for. With the addition of the Form Wash L and Form Cure L to our SLA ecosystem, we are providing even greater ease-of-use and automation to our customers,” said Formlabs’ Chief Product Officer Dávid Lakatos.

Users should now be able to automate and streamline their large-format SLA 3D printing workflow even more with the introduction of this new post-processing equipment. The Form Wash L and Form Cure L provide pre-programmed settings that have been tuned to each of the company’s resins, which should enable consistently high-quality prints. Additionally, the systems have been validated and are compatible with the company’s entire SLA printer line and most Formlabs SLA materials, including the sterilizable, biocompatible ones made in its ISO:13485 facility.

Form Wash L

The new Form Wash L cleans the completed parts once they’ve been removed from the printer, and the new Form Cure L finishes the curing process so that the 3D printed parts are able to achieve the best possible dimensional accuracy and mechanical properties. While these systems are the final part of the company’s large-format SLA ecosystem, they can also be used for high throughput of smaller parts instead of just large ones.

“I can’t imagine trying to take advantage of the Form 3L system without Form Wash L and Form Cure L,” said Formlabs user Paul Lake, Lead Engineer at Watts Water Technologies. “I am looking forward to utilizing the Form 3L throughout our organization so we can streamline the development of our products across the company.”

Form Cure L

According to the “Automation and Additive Manufacturing: Opportunities and Markets” report by SmarTech Analysis, 3D printing only represents about one percent of the overall manufacturing and production landscape, and adoption obstacles include difficulty in controlling quality across the supply chain. By automating necessary steps such as post-processing, which has been referred to as the AM industry’s dirty little secret, it will be easier to maintain the level of quality that’s so necessary for highly regulated industries, such as aerospace, automotive, and medical.

Formlabs says that many companies outsource large-format print jobs, which can increase lead times and drive the cost up for prototypes. With access to its large-format AM ecosystem, now complete with the addition of this new post-processing equipment, users should have an easier time bringing production in-house, which can help save on both time and money, as well as boost throughput.

With most units expected to ship in the first quarter of 2022, the new Form Wash L and Form Cure L are available for pre-order beginning today.

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