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Stratasys demonstrates next-gen 3D printing for aerospace and automotive manufacturing; partnering with Ford

Stratasys Ltd., the 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions company, will preview demonstrations of next-generation manufacturing technologies at IMTS 2016 (International Manufacturing Technology Show, 12-17 September) as part of its SHAPING WHAT’S NEXT vision for manufacturing.

The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator is designed to address the requirements of aerospace, automotive and other industries for large lightweight, thermoplastic parts with repeatable mechanical properties. The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator features a novel approach to Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) extrusion that increases throughput and repeatability.

3D printers that run on FDM Technology build parts layer-by-layer from the bottom up by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament. The new system turns the traditional 3D printer concept on its side to realize an “infinite-build” approach which prints on a vertical plane for practically unlimited part size in the build direction (Z-plane).

Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Demonstrator_Front_MQ
Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator. Click to enlarge.

Boeing played an influential role in defining the requirements and specifications for the demonstrator. Boeing is currently using an Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator to explore the production of low volume, lightweight parts. Ford Motor Company is also exploring innovative automotive manufacturing applications for this demonstrator, and will evaluate this new technology.

Ford and Stratasys will work together to test and develop new applications for automotive-grade 3D printed materials that were not previously possible due to limited size, enabling and accelerating innovative automotive product design.

3D printing holds the promise of changing automotive design and manufacturing because it opens up new ways to innovate and create efficiencies in production. Our vision at Ford is to make high-speed, high-quality printing of automotive-grade parts a reality. 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.

—Mike Whitens, director, Vehicle Enterprise Sciences, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering

Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator. Stratasys and Siemens have been working very closely together to further their shared vision of making 3D printing a viable and indispensable component of production manufacturing. As an example of this vision, Stratasys developed the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator integrating its core additive manufacturing technologies with industrial motion control hardware and design-to-3D printing software capabilities provided by Siemens. This Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator is designed to revolutionize the 3D printing of composite parts.

Stratasys Robotic-Composite 3D Demonstrator_2_MQ
Stratasys Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator. Click to enlarge.

In addition to widespread use in transportation industries such as automotive and aerospace, industries such as oil & gas and medical use composite materials to make strong yet lightweight structures. Unfortunately, composites production is constrained by labor-intensive processes and geometric limitations.

The Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator delivers true 3D printing by using an 8-axis motion system that enables precise, directional material placement for strength while also reducing dramatically the need for speed-hindering support strategies. This redefines how future lightweight parts will be built, and provides a glimpse into how this technology could be used to accelerate the production of parts made from a wide variety of materials.

In addition to the Infinite-Build and Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrators being featured in technology demonstrations, at IMTS 2016 Stratasys will be showcasing examples of 3D printing applications used today by Stratasys customers all over the world for tooling and manufacturing processes, including 3D printed Jigs & Fixtures, Composite Tooling, Mold Tooling and Production Parts.

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