Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3DGence Premieres Two FFF Metal 3D Printers at Formnext 2021

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3DGence launched its high-performance INDUSTRY 4F20 3D printer at Formnext 2019, and this week, during Formnext 2021, the Polish 3D printer manufacturer will be premiering its latest fused filament fabrication (FFF) printer series, ELEMENT, which is a bold move into metal FFF 3D printing. This new series will expand on the company’s high-temperature thermoplastic INDUSTRY printer series, and will launch compact, mid-size metal printers—the ELEMENT MP260 and the ELEMENT MP350.

“Our goal is to bring industrial grade Metal FFF technology to our industrial customer base that is accessible without compromising expected quality. As the recent focus has been in our high-temperature thermoplastic printers for sequential, robust printing in high performance materials like ULTEM™ and the PAEK range, we are now making the natural extension to high-performance non-polymer materials,” stated Ron Faruqui, CEO Americas, 3DGence. “The new ELEMENT series has been specifically designed for this portfolio extension, as we believe there will be varying needs for metal, high-temperature thermoplastics, and composite parts – often side-by-side – depending on specific application across key industries. Regardless, the end-goal is the same: enable our users to produce high-quality end-use parts through a single, reliable platform that offers consistent benefits.”

3DGence hasn’t yet released the official specifications for its new printers, but we do have some information on them. First up, the ELEMENT MP260 is a mid-sized metal industrial system, designed as a more cost-effective choice for metal injection molding (MIM) production companies to use when prototyping products. The compact MP260 is the whole package, complete with the printer itself, as well as a debinder and sintering station, and will process two main materials, including 316L stainless steel.

“We based our technological solution on the experience of our MIM partners. First, the printers must be reliable and easy to use. Feedstock materials are generally brittle and hard to handle with standard extrusion systems. We developed and tested many different designs before we finalized a reliable and stable extrusion system,” explained 3DGence CTO Krzysztof Wilk. “The MP260 was specifically designed to help companies using MIM technology to close the gap in prototyping phase. We understand the gap in prototyping in the MIM environment – and our ELEMENT series will fill this void in a cost-effective manner, enabling productivity of the larger MIM investment.”

This new ELEMENT series will launch next month, starting with the MP260, as well as the MP260X version, which comes with an improved extrusion system, specifically designed material bay, advanced hardened nozzle with material detection system, and will work with most sintering filaments that are used in today’s MIM technology. So it seems like both versions will be very supportive for MIM.

The second new printer that 3DGence is premiering at Formnext this week is the ELEMENT MP350, which features a larger build volume than the MP260, in addition to a wider material range, higher throughput, and advanced safety features.

“In the past 2 years, Metal FFF technology has made significant progress as an affordable entry into metal part prototyping and production. The number of desktop systems that can print open market metal filaments has increased, and the current key industrial players are experiencing consistent growth despite the economic impact stemming from Covid-19,” said Sebastian Sczasny, Technology Portfolio Director, MS Galleon, and Group CEO, 3DGence. “3DGence is now entering the Metal FFF segment with middle and compact sized Metal FFF 3D Printers to provide a solid, reliable option in the entry and middle priced segments – providing industrial grade quality at scalable pricing with our ELEMENT Series MDM printers.”

These machines follow an interesting trend taking place. While Markforged and Desktop Metal introduced low-cost bound metal printing (BMP) systems akin to FFF-style machines, they feature those firm’s proprietary methods for extrusion and specialty feedstocks. Now, we’re seeing traditional FFF firms like BCN3D and 3DGence are getting into the space with bound metal filaments. In the case of BCN3D, the Spanish company is using Forward AM’s Ultrafuse Metal Filaments. Here, 3DGence seems to be offering its own materials? Moreover, it has introduced completely new 3D printers to handle the material, making them more similar to Markforged and Desktop Metal’s offerings. Regardless, it seems that low-cost metal 3D printing is heating up.

This is a good new direction for 3DGence, which previously focused on making metal replacement parts and not metal parts themselves. According to SmarTech Analysis, revenues from metal AM hardware systems were up 35% in the first quarter of 2021, and they’ve only continued to get higher, and the prediction is that the metal AM market will reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. So, the company is coming in at a good time.

The new ELEMENT MP350 will be launched after the MP260 and MP260X, in Q1 of 2022, and will be on operating display at Formnext this week. Pre-orders for these new 3DGence 3D printers will begin in January 2022, and you can see them for yourself at Booth B119, Hall 12.1 at Formnext.

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