New Additive Manufacturing Technology for Aerospace and Automotive Coming to IMTSIan Wright
posted on August 24, 2016 |
The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator. (Image courtesy of Stratasys.)
You can expect to hear more and more about 3D printing in manufacturing as more major players climb aboard the additive manufacturing bandwagon. Case in point: Stratasys’ Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator is already being explored by the likes of Boeing and Ford.
According to Stratasys, the Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator is designed to meet the requirements of the automotive and aerospace industries, which produce large, lightweight thermoplastic parts with repeatable mechanical properties.
The system takes an alternative approach to fused deposition modeling (FDM) extrusion by turning the traditional 3D printer concept on its side and printing on a vertical plane, which allows for significantly increased part size in the build direction.
Boeing and Ford Explore 3D Printing
Boeing is currently using an Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator to explore the production of low-volume, lightweight parts while Ford and Stratasys are collaborating to test and develop new applications for automotive-grade 3D-printed materials that were not previously possible due to size limitations.
Aircraft panel produced by the Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator. (Image courtesy of Stratasys.)
“We are always looking for ways to reduce the cost and weight of aircraft structures, or reduce the time it takes to prototype and test new tools and products so we can provide them to customers in a more affordable and rapid manner. The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator enables products to be made at a much larger and potentially unlimited length, offering us a breakthrough tool to add to our robust additive manufacturing processes,” said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works.
“3D printing holds the promise of changing automotive design and manufacturing because it opens up new ways to innovate and create efficiencies in production. We are excited about the future opportunities that the scalable and versatile Infinite-Build concept can unlock and look forward to collaborating with Stratasys to help achieve our goals,” said Mike Whitens, director of Vehicle Enterprise Sciences, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering.
Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator
In addition to collaborations with Boeing and Ford, Stratasys has been working closely with Siemens to develop the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator, which integrates Stratasys’ additive manufacturing technologies with Siemens’ industrial motion control hardware and design-to-3D printing software.
The Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator. (Image courtesy of Stratasys.)
The Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator uses an 8-axis motion system that enables precise, directional material placement for strength while also reducing the need for speed-hindering support strategies. This provides a glimpse into how 3D printing could be used to accelerate the production of parts made from a wide variety of materials.
“We view the level of factory integration, automation and performance monitoring potentially offered by these new demonstrators as catalysts for the transformation to Industry 4.0,” said Ilan Levin, CEO of Stratasys. “Stratasys invites all visitors to IMTS  to see these new technologies, as well as our field-proven industrial additive manufacturing solutions, in action.”
Part produced by the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator. (Image courtesy of Stratasys.)
Stratasys will be showcasing the Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator and the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator at IMTS 2016. The company will also feature examples of 3D printing applications in tooling and manufacturing processes, including 3D-printed jigs and fixtures, composite tooling, molding tooling and production parts.
For more information, check out the Stratasys booth at IMTS 2016 in North Building, B Hall - Additive Manufacturing - N-60 or visit the Stratasys website.