3D Systems has unveiled Figure 4 Production Black 10 (PRO-BLK 10) - a revolutionary production material for additive manufacturing applications that enables manufacturers to directly produce end-use plastic parts without tooling. This results in parts produced the same day versus weeks required with conventional tool-based approaches. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing Materials 2019-2029: Technology and Market Analysis.
Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 is 3D Systems' first photopolymer for additive manufacturing that exhibits thermoplastic behaviors, providing a combination of speed, accuracy, strength and durability previously only associated with injection molding output. The breakthrough material works with a simple isopropyl alcohol (IPA) wash and does not require a secondary thermal post-cure process, which significantly improves throughput yield and significantly reduces the extensive solvent cleaning cycles needed with other technologies.
In customer testing of a variety of parts, using the Figure 4 system and the new production black material delivered a part in hand on average up to 4X faster (including print and cure time), compared to customers' existing 3D production systems.
Chris Nicoll, prototype lab manager at D&K Engineering - a product design and contract manufacturer based in San Diego, CA - has begun to use the material in his additive lab. "One thing we're really excited about with Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 is the capability to produce complex, fine details on parts without tooling," said Nicoll. "We created several threaded parts in the same print with a variety of dimensions and each one is perfect. The quality is just outstanding. I'm excited about how the new Figure 4 production black material along with our Figure 4 Modular printer will help us provide production parts to our customers more quickly. With the enhanced speed, we'll also be able to take on more projects, which will help us grow our business."
In addition to 3D Systems' new Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10, the company is also announcing four additional Figure 4 materials to add to its range of applications:
- Figure 4 EGGSHELL-AMB 10: A process-optimized material for the production of sacrificial tooling for casting true silicone components.
- Figure 4 HI TEMP 300-AMB: Industry-leading, ultra-high temperature (300 Celsius) rigid plastic suitable for production applications such as high temperature component testing and stators and motor enclosures.
- Figure 4 FLEX-BLK 20: Durable, flexible, high impact, fatigue resistant material with long term environmental stability for functional assemblies and prototypes such as automotive styling parts, consumer goods and electronic components, snap-fit assemblies, containers and enclosures.
- Figure 4 RUBBER-BLK 10: High-tear strength, malleable, material designed for prototyping hard, rubber-like parts such as grips, handles and couplings.
"Through collaboration with its customers, 3D Systems continues to innovate, and rethink manufacturing," said Menno Ellis, senior vice president and general manager, plastics, 3D Systems. "The release of our newest Figure 4 materials enables production of parts through additive across the entire product development and production value chain."
Source and top image: 3D Systems