PITTSBURGH — Stratasys Ltd. introduced a prototype of a 3D printing system that maintains low-volume output continuously as the company moves to expand its presence in industrial production.
The company showed its Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator today at the RAPID + TCT Show in Pittsburgh. The system consists of cells, each consisting of three printers.
Stratasys (Minneapolis and Rehovot, Israel) said the cloud-connected system is highly automated, with the printers in each cell coordinated in their production of parts.
The company placed system prototypes at companies and academic institutions. User reaction and input will figure into adjustments before the system is sold widely.
“It’s not just a concept, It’s not just printers assembled on a shelf,” Rich Garrity, the company’s Americas president, said at a press conference.
Stratasys executives declined to say how many customers are testing the machines. It identified three: the Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA); In’Tech Industries Inc., a supplier of additive manufacturing engineering services; and Fathom, a California-based manufacturer.
Last year, Stratasys introduced its Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator, developed with Boeing Co. and Ford Motor Co. as partners. That prototype machine was designed to print larger parts.
During the press conference, executives were asked if the company could combine the two concepts — large parts and continuous output — in future machines.
“Yes, but we’ll have to have another meeting for that,” Scott Crump, founder and chief innovation officer, said.
Additive manufacturing companies generally are moving to improve the speed of their printers and to producer larger parts.
Stratasys also announced it agreed to expand its partnership with Desktop Metal (Burlington, MA). Under the pact, Stratasys resellers will begin representing Desktop Metal products along with Stratasys offerings. Stratasys was an early investor in Desktop Metal.