VIDEO: How to Reduce Additive Manufacturing Cycle Times from Hours to Minutes
James Anderton posted on October 21, 2016 |


One of the key benefits of additive manufacturing is the ability to create parts that can’t be made any other way.

However, one of the oldest criticisms of the technology concerns speed: cycle times are usually quite long.

In the video above, we talk with Scott Sevcik, head of aerospace, defense and automotive at Stratasys, about how additive manufacturing is breaking its previous records in both cycle time and surface finish.

“As we’ve taken the technology from where it started in rapid prototyping and moved into manufacturing, we’ve seen speed as a significant contributor to the economics of using the technology,” said Sevcik. “One of the ways we’re going bigger and faster is by working outside of an oven using industrial motion systems and making use of additional axes to utilize directional materials like composites.”

Using industrial robots and advanced 3D printing technology, parts can be printed more quickly and in more unique shapes thanks to the degrees of freedom offered by robotic arms. Moreover, rather than just moving the 3D printer, the system can also manipulate the part to maximize the versatility of the system.

“We can move the part in the directions that we need to move it so that we don’t have to support the part in the traditional way,” Sevcik explained. “Instead, we support the part with gravity and apply material, rather than apply a model and support material. As a result, we get parts that normally take 10 to 12 hours to produce within 45 minutes.”

For more information, watch the video above and visit the Stratasys website.

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