Evolve Additive Solutions Inc. (Minneapolis, MN), whose proprietary STEP technology is designed to improve manufacturing while creating new disruptive business models, announced the shipment of its first STEP system. The system is in the alpha development stage and is being sent to a strategic partner, a large manufacturing company that is reported to be an iconic brand.
The strategic partner will help Evolve further develop the technology for use in a manufacturing environment as opposed to a laboratory setting. It also will test the applicability of the STEP technology for new manufacturing strategies to significantly reduce time to market and expand product design capabilities.
“As the co-inventor of STEP and executive in charge of development over the last nine years, it’s not only exciting but critical that we get the technology into a customer’s hands for development of real-world applications,” said Steve Chillscyzn, CEO. “The alpha stage is key to our progress and provides the necessary feedback to R&D to get to commercialization.”
Designed for automated manufacturing and factory-floor integration, STEP enables the use of production-grade thermoplastics in volume manufacturing applications across multiple industries. The highly scalable and extensible solution combines Evolve’s own proprietary technology with the proven capabilities of electro-photography to additively manufacture parts that meet or exceed the attributes of traditionally produced parts, said the company.
Evolve is actively discussing participation in the STEP beta program with companies across many industries including automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, industrial manufacturing and medical. Chillscyzn noted that the company is looking for beta partners who want to perform true additive manufacturing at volume and are looking for the right technology.
The STEP process combines time-tested 2-D imaging technology with proprietary IP developed by Evolve to precisely align incoming layers and sophisticated bonding techniques that create fully dense, final parts with isotropic properties equal to or exceeding injection molding.
Specifically, STEP technology introduces a range of new features, including:
- Engineering-grade thermoplastic materials (amorphous and semi-crystalline);
- lower cost per part than traditional manufacturing for short to medium batch sizes;
- surface quality with isotropic properties in the X, Y and Z directions;
- Industry 4.0 and automation for factory floor integration;
- multi-material printing; and
- full-color printing, including accent and process colors, with 32-bit, grey-scale printing capability.