BCN3D, a Barcelona-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of additive manufacturing (AM) hardware, has released the latest generation of its Epsilon line of printers, and the company claims that the newest Epsilons feature some key improvements. The Epsilon, an independent dual extrusion (IDEX) platform, first hit the market in 2020, and has an impressive list of corporate users, including Airbus, BMW, and Samsung.
The most immediately obvious difference is visual, with the new Epsilons — the W27 and larger W50, both of which also have a Smart Cabinet (SC) option — built slightly more vertically than the first-gen. As BCN3D points out, this has its advantages not just in making for a “sleeker” look, but also insofar as it allows users to optimize space on the shop floor.
BCN3D made the biggest tweaks, though, under the hood. Above all, the company notes three main upgrades to the new Epsilons’ electronics: a new ventilation system that should increase consistency; new motor drivers, which lead to quieter printing and much less heat generated during use; and a new main circuit board custom-made for BCN3D.
That last difference is probably the biggest deal, as the company says the new board is “concentrated into one single board”, rather than comprised of “several commercial pieces implemented in various areas of the printer”. Not only does that increase overall mechanical efficiency, which presumably also plays a role in the Epsilons’ other latest electronic improvements: additionally, the fact that the circuit board is custom-made for BCN3D greatly enhances the company’s control over its supply chain.
While the AM sector pitches a long-term vision of itself as a comprehensive solution to supply chain disruptions, in the near-term, AM companies of course suffer the same supply chain issues as the rest of the manufacturing economy. And, as with the rest of the manufacturing economy, the production struggles of OEMs in the AM space in 2022 stemmed largely from unusually long lead times for chip orders.
As BCN3D has done in this case, more AM companies in coming years will likely start taking as much direct control over their own supply chains as they can. In that sense, companies in the AM sector clearly have at least one edge over legacy manufacturers aiming for the same objective, which is the potential to print their own parts. This potential is still quite limited currently, but it will also become less so, the more consolidated the industry becomes. And, even without greater consolidation, cooperation between different companies in the sector seems to be gaining steam as a priority, lately.
Images courtesy of BCN3D
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