Aaron Pearson
Vice President of Public Relations

How is 3D printing making manufacturing more efficient and cost-effective today, and how it can become an integrated part of a long-term manufacturing strategy? How will it change the way we design and build the vehicles of tomorrow? To learn how Stratasys is shaping what’s next, come to our booth, N-60, at IMTS 2016 and see the present and future of additive manufacturing.

Next-gen 3D Demonstrators Break Barriers in Part Performance and Production Efficiency

Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator

The future of 3D printing isn’t about making the same parts in another way.  It’s about making parts that couldn’t be made before, or parts that couldn’t be made cost-effectively before.  At IMTS, we’ll be demonstrating how we are able to achieve both of those goals.

`If an aircraft OEM, interiors supplier or airline wants to truly differentiate the passenger experience, the future includes highly specialized and customized cabin interiors – typically an expensive prospect. But building on our success using FDM 3D printing for non-loaded or lightly-loaded aircraft interiors, the new Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator shows what’s possible when size constraints are eliminated and speed and repeatability are increased by an order of magnitude or more.  At IMTS, a customized, 3D printed aircraft interior panel will be on display to help our customers begin to think about the possibilities available with this next generation technology.  Boeing and Ford representatives will be sharing how this approach is poised to impact their abilities on the manufacturing floor.

Stratasys Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator Stratasys Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator

But the aerospace and automotive industries are looking to do much more than offer customization without the cost, they need to increase performance while reducing weight.  Composite materials have been adopted throughout the aerospace and automotive industries specifically for that purpose, but there is significant untapped potential in unlocking composite manufacturing from its current constraints.  Most composite manufacture is highly labor intensive, and designs are constrained by mold geometries or by woven sheet materials.  By bringing together the design freedom enabled by FDM 3D printing, the material systems of composite manufacture, and the multi-axis motion control of industrial robotics, we are able to show the industry something new – the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator.  The demonstration parts you’ll see 3D printing in the Stratasys booth will directionally align carbon fiber reinforcement with eight degrees of freedom.  These are parts that can’t be hand laid-up because of the complex geometry, nor can they be produced with filament winding or other automated technologies.  These parts also can’t be 3D printed in the traditional, layer-by-layer approach.  What this means for composite manufacture is a whole new generation of parts that can be optimized to a degree never before possible.  Aligning reinforcement within complex, organic geometries will result in consolidated assemblies of incredibly lightweight structural parts.

Proven Additive Manufacturing Applications That Improve Your Productivity

3D printed manufacturing aids used by Opel and produced using Stratasys FDM 3D printing 3D printed manufacturing aids used by Opel and produced using Stratasys FDM 3D printing

At Stratasys, though, manufacturing isn’t just the future of 3D printing – it is the present.  Our solutions are already in manufacturing, and through the deep engagement we’ve had for more than a decade with partners like Boeing, we are ready to take it to the next level.

Stratasys 3D printing solutions are used today around the world on hundreds of factory floors. From a rocket factory using 3D printed drill guides, to alignment fixtures for automobile brand detailing, to a medical device test lab using 3D printed test fixtures, tens of thousands of Stratasys 3D printed manufacturing aides are in use today.  3D printed fixtures, jigs, and other assembly tools are making production more efficient while reducing ergonomic-related injuries. For example, Opel and Volvo Trucks are experiencing real success today with 3D printed manufacturing aids, and we will be sharing these in our IMTS booth.

Injected parts for Berker switch assembly, including Stratasys 3D printed molds. Injected parts for Berker switch assembly, including Stratasys 3D printed molds.

Mold tooling is another great example of the power of 3D printing. Printed tools for injection molding are allowing companies like Berker to accelerate development by enabling rapid iteration, using targeted materials to produce prototype parts.  Lay-up molds for producing composite parts, similarly allow manufacturers to dramatically shorten the time and reduce the expense required to tool for production.  Materials like ULTEM 1010 can be used for high temperature autoclave-curing of composite structures, and the new ST-130 material can be used to print sacrificial, wash-out tooling for incredibly complex geometries, like the one we’ll be displaying from Swift Engineering.

Production parts are also being 3D printed with Stratasys solutions.  Daihatsu is producing customized exterior design elements for its Copen cars, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) is 3D printing dozens of flight components for Atlas V rockets.  At the Stratasys booth you’ll see a sample ULA part together with an impressive story of how they significantly reduced cost and part count by adopting Stratasys 3D printing.

Stratasys FDM 3D printed thermoplastic part for ULA rocket Stratasys FDM 3D printed thermoplastic part for ULA rocket

The full range of Stratasys’ solutions will be on display at IMTS with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing highlighting our extensive part production capabilities.  Stratasys Direct produces parts for prototypes and production utilizing a wide range of 3D printing equipment and solutions, including some of the industry’s largest capacities to produce FDM, PolyJet, SLS, SLA and DMLS parts under AS9100C certification.  Our software solutions will be on display, with GrabCAD Print highlighting an integrated workflow that enables coordinated and streamlined part printing directly from CAD. And representatives from Stratasys Strategic Consulting will be on hand to help you in designing your additive manufacturing strategy for your factory floor, to make additive manufacturing a strategic and integral part of your business.

Both the Infinite-Build and Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrators will be on display at the Stratasys booth, N60. Stratasys will also be presenting the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator in the Siemens booth theater sessions, E-4502, which will include composite display parts as well as highlighting the Siemens-Stratasys software collaboration that makes CAD-to-Part possible, even today.

Whether or not you’re able to attend IMTS, you can begin shaping your factory manufacturing today by booking a customized, 30-minute diagnostic session with an expert from Stratasys Strategic Consulting. Learn more here.