Prodways Nearly Doubles Carbon’s Ultra-Fast 3D Printing Speeds
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on May 04, 2016 |
A new Prodways video demonstrates continuous DLP 3D printing at 2 centimeters per minute.

In an interview with Raphaël Gorgé last year, the CEO of the French Groupe Gorgé expressed his goal to see his subsidiary, Prodways, become the third largest player in the 3D printing industry. The goal seemed like a reasonable one given the recent partnership between Prodways and Chinese manufacturer Farsoon Tech. 

The deal would see the French company extend its already robust 3D printer portfolio from its collection of MOVINGLight industrial digital light processing (DLP) 3D printers to include a new line of selective laser sintering and direct metal laser sintering machines called Prodways by Farsoon. 

A new video, published ahead of this month’s RAPID conference, demonstrates that Prodways is getting not just bigger, but faster as well, as the company shows off 3D printing speeds almost twice that of Carbon, previously the paragon of rapid DLP 3D printing.

In their latest video, Prodways features a MOVINGLight machine capable of 3D printing at a rate of 2 cm per minute. A nod to the quick-printed Eiffel Tower fabricated by U.S.-based Carbon in about 7 minutes, the French company’s 8.3 cm tall Statue of Liberty print was made in just 4 minutes and 15 seconds. 

The company does not elaborate on how it achieves this result, but does say that it is a type of continuous DLP (C-DLP). As a comparison, Prodways points out that DLP techniques that don't use continuous 3D printing techniques have speeds closer to 1 cm per hour.

Prodways’ latest R&D demonstration showcases the ability to 3D print objects at a rate of 2 cm per minute. (Image courtesy of Prodways/YouTube.)
Prodways’ latest R&D demonstration showcases the ability to 3D print objects at a rate of 2 cm per minute. (Image courtesy of Prodways/YouTube.)

CEO Gorgé tells IL Replicatore that the technique was, in part, designed in response to Carbon’s own continuous liquid interface printing (CLIP). To demonstrate Prodways’ ability to achieve its own C-DLP process, Prodways CEO and inventor of MOVINGLight, André-Luc Allanic, developed this proof-of-concept with Prodways’ “advanced projects” unit, an interdisciplinary team made up of French, Chinese, Russian, Italian and German engineers. 

Gorgé explains (translated from Italian to English), “When the CLIP technology from Carbon3D was made ​​public, I showed it to André-Luc and he said that he would be able to double the speed. This video shows how he managed to keep his promise.”

The process was pulled off by tweaking existing MOVINGLight technologies and materials. Gorgé says that there are no immediate plans to commercialize the process, but that it can be expanded in terms of materials, speed and even size. 

Because MOVINGLight  printers feature two LED sources that move across a vat of UV-curable photopolymers, they can 3D print very large objects with high resolution using Prodways’ largest machine, the ProMaker L8000. The ProMaker L8000 is capable of 3D printing objects up to 840 mm x 660 mm x 550 mm (33.1 in x 26 in x 21.6 in) in size. 

The notion that the C-DLP process may be applied to a system as sizeable as the ProMaker L8000 foreshadows Prodways and Groupe Gorgé’s ability to 3D print massive objects very quickly and with great detail. Prodways also already has a robust portfolio of materials, potentially giving them a huge leg up on the competition.

All of this, combined with their Prodways by Farsoon line, will surely drive the company in its goal to become the third most important player in the industry. To learn more, visit Prodways at RAPID in Orlando, Fl., from May 17-19.

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