AMS Spring 2023

Beyond Prototyping: 3D Printing with XYZPrinting & Stratasys at IMTS 2022

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While attending the IMTS 2022 trade show in Chicago, I made a lot of quick stops at booths in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) Pavilion to try and make as many visits as I could before heading back home.

XYZprinting Showcasing the MfgPro236 xS

Among them was XYZprinting, a New Kinpo Group subsidiary that made a name for itself selling a multitude of inexpensive desktop material extrusion 3D printers before making the leap to industrial AM systems. At IMTS, the company showcased its new MfgPro236 xS, which was first introduced at RAPID + TCT 2021. As John Calhoun, Director of Sales, North America, told me, the high-powered SLS 3D printer is “12% faster than [its predecessor, the MfgPro230].”

“It can really leverage service bureaus being able to print an entire build within 24 hours, which is catching a lot of traction with the bigger service bureaus,” Calhoun continued.

With its 60W CO2 laser and 230 x 230 x 250 mm build volume, the MfgPro236 xS can print up to 22 mm per hour and also offers shorter cooling and breakout times. It’s powered by advanced Buildware and XYZprint AMSLS software suites, which allows users to directly operate a model sintering process and remotely plan sintering projects, respectively.

However, as Calhoun told me, one of the most exciting features of the MfgPro236 xS is its ability to recycle powder. XYZprinting SLS systems enable the use of end-of-life powder from peer machines, mixing waste powder with 20-30% fresh powder to achieve high-quality parts.

“That’s really our calling card  – entry level, our pricing is incredible, and the ability to recycle,” Calhoun told me.

The other important feature XYZprinting offers is an affordable open platform system for materials, which allows users to choose which powder they want to use and purchase from any material supplier. The company has its own “broad range of materials,” as well, including polymers like polypropylene, flame retardant PA6, carbon fiber reinforced PA11, flexible TPU, and more, and also metals like stainless steel and titanium.

Beyond Prototyping with Stratasys Panel

During IMTS, Stratasys held a breakfast panel for the media and analyst community to learn more about the continuing shift to polymer 3D printing for manufacturing applications. As we keep hearing, 3D printing has matured and come into its own, and the growth potential for this technology is what inspired the panel, which was moderated by Context analyst Chris Connery.

Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif said that, while AM currently makes up just 0.1% of the manufacturing industry, adoption will continue to grow as companies face new challenges, such as driving sustainability efforts, managing disrupted supply chains through digitalization, and better meeting consumer preferences for personalization.

“For the AM industry, the pandemic dramatically increased awareness that the manufacturing industry needs to evolve,” Zeif noted. “There are geometries that only additive can deliver, and in 3D printing, you can deliver something that no one else can.”

Eric Johnson, Global Manager of Additive Manufacturing at Eaton Research Labs, agreed, saying that companies like Stratasys, which offers an expansive materials portfolio and Open Materials License, allow Eaton to scale better.

“The area of growth we [at Eaton Research Labs] see is in the polymers and being able to scale it to our other businesses,” Johnson continued. “Having access to open materials allows us to not only engineer these materials ourselves, but also partner with commercial manufacturers that are the best at being able to develop, manufacture, and scale those materials for manufacturing purposes.”

Mike Littrell, President and Founder of Stratasys customer CIDEAS BuildParts.com, echoed this sentiment, mentioning that Stratasys does offer the ability to scale, as well as “reliable repeatability.”

Rich Garrity, Chief Industrial Business Officer for Stratasys, said that the company is focused on a customer-first mindset, in order to help clients in their efforts to work at scale and unlock the freedom of 3D printing with open materials, software, and systems.

“When we hear from our customers, we hear that they need full solutions to scale in production applications. As an industry, we need to better understand customers’ needs beyond the printer and examine the full ecosystem,” Garrity said. “The recent reorganization of Stratasys is the result of great customers like Eric and Mike. Customers tell us it’s time to go beyond the printers and examine the full ecosystem. We need full solutions to scale in production applications. And as an industry, we need to better understand customers’ needs beyond a printer. We really see ourselves at the tip of the spear, making sure that we understand their needs and know where they go.”

By organizing its business for each application category, from aerospace and automotive to medical, spare parts and more, Stratasys enables its customers to more easily adopt 3D printing as a true manufacturing solution, and move past prototyping.

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