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Developments in the rapid prototyping / rapid manufacturing space continue to be swift as more OEMs, their plastics processing suppliers and mold manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing processes to augment their traditional means of production. According to Wohlers Report 2011, the leading report on the technology and its users, the compound annual growth rate of revenues produced by all AM products and services in 2010 was 24.1%.

PlasticsToday Staff

July 19, 2011

3 Min Read
Rapid prototypers have new material, machine available

Developments in the rapid prototyping / rapid manufacturing space continue to be swift as more OEMs, their plastics processing suppliers and mold manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing processes to augment their traditional means of production. According to Wohlers Report 2011, the leading report on the technology and its users, the compound annual growth rate of revenues produced by all AM products and services in 2010 was 24.1%.

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The new material could see use in fixtures for electronics.

Helping to stimulate that growth-and hoping to continue to benefit from it- is one of the additive manufacturing industry's key suppliers, Stratasys, with a new range of materials and machines.

The new material, ABS-ESD7, is a static dissipative grade of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) that can be used to fabricate assembly aids that hold, handle, or carry electronic products. It could also be used to create electronic product enclosures and electronics packaging. Naturally it is designed to be processed on Stratasys Inc.'s 3D printers.

ABS-ESD7 is a new material for use on the company's Fortus brand of additive manufacturing systems. The material has static dissipative properties for applications where a static charge can damage products, impair performance or cause an explosion. Besides eliminating static shock, the material also helps prevent the attraction and buildup of particulate, such as dust or powders, which can degrade product performance.

The supplier, based in Minneapolis, MN, says the material also is beneficial when designing products that avoid attracting atomized liquid, such as medicine inhalers, which must deliver the entire drug dose to the patient and not leave mist clinging to inhaler's internal surfaces.

ABS-ESD7 will run on Fortus 400mc and Fortus 900mc FDM (fused deposition modeling) systems. Stratasys patented and owns the FDM process, which creates functional prototypes and manufactured goods directly from a 3D CAD program using thermoplastics. The mechanical properties of ABS-ESD7 are within 5% of the ratings for the supplier's non-ESD grade, ABS-M30.

The company also this month announced the availability of the Fortus 250mc production 3D printer, the company's first cross-over system combining the ease-of-use and affordability of Stratasys' Dimension 3D Printers with the control of Insight Software, used to drive the higher-end Fortus line of production 3D printers. The software gives users added control of build speed, part accuracy, and feature detail.

"The engineers interested in this new product will likely be traditional 3D printer candidates, but who want more sophisticated build-parameter control," says product manager Mary Stanley. "Users are moving beyond prototyping into production with their additive manufacturing machines. The most common manufacturing application is to build functioning manufacturing tools, like jigs and fixtures to be used in the production process."

The Fortus 250mc has a 10 x 10 x 12 in. (254 x 254 x 305 mm) build envelope and offers three build layer options: 0.007, 0.010 and 0.013 in. (0.178, 0.254 and 0.330 mm). The machine processes the supplier's ABSplus thermoplastic, which is available in ivory, white, blue, fluorescent yellow, black, red, nectarine, olive green and gray colors.

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