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BigRep Continues Focus on Automation in 3D Printing with Industrial VIIO 250 3D Printer

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BigRep has been upping its use of automation lately, first with the launch of the automated, high-temperature 3D printers ALTRA 280 and IPSO 105, originating from the company’s acquisition of HAGE3D. Last week, on the last day of RAPID+TCT, the large-format 3D printing leader announced the release of its newest FFF system, the intuitive VIIO 250. The company says this printer is “pushing the limits of 24/7 automation” with non-stop printing of industrial-grade parts with fiber-reinforced and engineering-grade materials, including ASA, PETG, TPU 98A, HI-TEMP CF, and more.

At RAPID, BigRep announced partnerships with Texas-based reseller Impac Systems Engineering and MatterHackers, but it also showcased the new VIIO 250 for the first time at the event. For those who couldn’t be there to see the printer in-person, the company also held an official Virtual Launch Event at the end of the first day.

The VIIO 250 is BigRep’s most automated 3D printer yet, created to easily print large, high-resolution parts at the touch of a button, with hardly any manual intervention required for the rest of the build. This type of automation is significant in industrial manufacturing sectors like the automotive industry, as emphasized by Jens Krämer​, Head of Prototyping at Magirus Fire Trucks and one of the first users of the new VIIO 250.

“Great to see that comfort features known from desktop printers have arrived in an industrial setting. Being able to rely on the automatic calibration of the print bed, flow rate, and x/y makes my life a lot easier and caters to reliable outcomes,” Krämer​ said.

Some of those “comfort features” include an automated backup extruder functionality called Relay Mode; auto calibration, including print bed mapping and filament flow rate adjustment; and something BigRep calls the Infinity Box (such a cool name), which enables automatic filament handling. These features, plus a new controls platform offering convenient over-the-air software updates, make it possible for manufacturers to achieve highly efficient, uninterrupted 3D printing on the factory floor.

The Infinity Box, not to be confused with the Infinity Gauntlet.

The Infinity Box is an add-on feature to the VIIO 250, and automatically detects when the filament runs out during a print job. But instead of stopping the job and alerting the user, this feature will load new material without any human intervention. Plus, it can be used as an active filament dry box, able to store 4 spools of up to 8 kg each.

The VIIO 250 features a sleek design and a spacious 250-liter, 1000 X 500 X 500 mm build chamber, with active temperature control that reaches up to 50°C for the highest geometric accuracy. The printer’s HMI (Human Machine Interface) comes in multiple languages and offers animated walkthroughs to make the print process easy for users. It also offers intuitive UX/UI guides and alerts to make for a more efficient workflow. The open material system is compatible with filaments from BigRep and third parties, and the new VIIO 250 also offers advanced print monitoring with a built-in chamber camera and dual SMX (Smart Manufacturing Extruders) extruders with embedded sensors that reach up to 350°C. LED light indicators, which signal the various statuses of the extruders, come in 0.4 mm, 0.6 mm, and 1.0 mm sizes.

“The VIIO 250 is a significant leap forward in automating and simplifying 3D printing technology aiming to advance industrial users’ productivity,” said Dr.-Ing. Sven Thate, Managing Director of BigRep GmbH. “By integrating advanced automation features and user-friendly interfaces, we aim to set a new standard for efficiency, ease of use, reliability, and repeatability in large-scale industrial-grade 3D printing striving to continuously improve customers’ Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). With this we are setting the foundation for widespread adoption of large-format Additive Manufacturing (AM) in series production of large, accurate, strong parts in industrial manufacturing.”

Other features of the new printer include:

  • heated print bed that gets up to 120°C and has a removable surface
  • an easy Print Queue feature for assigning and checking print jobs
  • a max print speed of up to 500 mm/s
  • stepper motors with steel reinforced belt drive in XY and a spindle with self-lubricating nut in Z
  • BigRep BLADE slicing software
  • reduced energy consumption

The new BigRep VIIO 250 3D printer is now available for pre-orders, with modular configurations and pricing.

Images courtesy of BigRep

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