Stratasys recently announced the creation of an innovative new product: the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator. This multi-cell additive manufacturing platform is designed to continuously produce parts, and can be scaled to meet demand. Its innovative features could have major implications for the way additive manufacturing is done. Here’s everything you need to know about the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator.
What is a multi-cell additive manufacturing platform?
According to the Stratasys press release, the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is a multi-cell additive manufacturing platform that “is designed to produce parts in a continuous stream with only minor operator intervention, automatically ejecting completed parts and commencing new ones.” The Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is designed for accelerated throughput with features like automatic queue management, load balancing, and architecture redundancy.
The modular unit’s success lies in its 3D print cells, which are driven by a central, cloud-based architecture. Stratasys stated that each 3D print cell is capable of producing different jobs for mass customization, and additional cells can be installed within days if more production capacity is needed. Jobs are automatically routed to available print cells, with automatic rerouting if a print cell fails.
Stratasys has not said when the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator will be commercially available.
Applications of the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator
Stratasys has stated that its “target applications include education RP [Rapid Prototyping] labs and environments that can benefit from zero tooling production and from a zero inventory supply chain.” The platform’s scalability appears to make it a prime candidate for these environments, where flexibility is crucial; Stratasys’ website highlights the interconnected print cells and automated workflow as key features to producing whatever number of parts is needed, whether that be 500 a day or 100 a week.
Manufacturers and suppliers working in additive manufacturing have already begun benefiting from these features. According to a Stratasys’ press release, companies like In-Tech Industries, Inc. and FATHOM have used the platform with great success. These businesses have discovered that utilizing multiple cells and automated workflow allows them to increase throughput on a variety of parts without sacrificing time. The end result is smoother production, shorter lead times, and more satisfied customers.
Looking forward: additive manufacturing
Stratasys’ new platform opens a wide range of possibilities for companies working in the additive manufacturing industry. According to a Stratasys blog post, the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator gets companies closer to the dream of offering customized product output on-demand. The platform allows production lines to “utilize additive manufacturing tools and techniques not previously available,” giving them greater flexibility without sacrificing throughput speed. Like with many other innovations in the 3D printing industry, we can expect companies to take advantage of this technology in ways that will ultimately change the way we do business.
About the Author
Lisa Hannon is a marketing manager at Fisher Unitech. She develops content for 3D printing topics that have an impact across all industries that are researching ways to maximize getting products to market faster as well as cost savings with 3D printing solutions. Lisa has worked as a marketing management professional since 1998, most recently with Stratasys. You can follow her on Twitter: @lmci37