19th November 2014
SYS recently attended the Advanced Aero Engineering Exhibition to showcase their products and explain how they work with customers in their development process.
Technical Sales Engineer Martin Hamill gives us his in depth knowledge into 3D printing technology and explains how SYS work with their current client base to produce applications for their businesses.
PolyJet 3D printing technology jets layers of curable liquid photopolymer onto a build tray. This technology is primarily used for prototyping purposes but can also be used for additive manufacturing (DDM). Approximately, 99% of SYS customers use polyjet systems for prototyping using a variety of materials ranging from rigid plastics, clear plastics, all the way to flexible, rubber like materials.
Direct Digital Manufacturing (also known as Additive Manufacturing) is the process of building parts layer-by-layer from the bottom up by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament.
The advantages of this include:
The entry level 3D printers, that are designed for the home hobbyist market, are the technology Stratasys were selling 25 years ago. One of the key disadvantages of this technology is the inability to print in an oven. SYS technology prints in an oven giving the user total control over the build envelope. As well as this, entry level machines typically print using one material, generally a simple PLA. Stratasys machines provide a variety of different materials user can print with ranging from simple ABS to ULTEM 9085 which is aerospace grade ABS.
SYS work with their customers to initially provide a suitable machine and it’s materials for their required application. We then work with them in developing the application along with creating any new applications within their business. SYS have access to the entire range of approved materials to supply to customers along with the technical expertise in helping evolve their product. For example, in Direct Digital Manufacturing, you need to control the internal structure on the parts. SYS can help customers achieve this with their in-depth expertise and knowledge.
We help customers develop materials specific for their application needs. If the material isn’t available for their current production, SYS will work with them and Stratasys to help try to resolve the issue for their material and application requirements.
We go everywhere from jigs and fixtures through to end used parts. End used parts are components that could be manufactured using other methods but would cost and lot more and take a lot more time. The advantage of manufacturing using 3D printers is being able to produce one part today and another part tomorrow, using exactly the same machine but with completely different complex geometries and shapes without any difference in cost.
Our customer base is extremely varied. This can range from a customer designing a simple injection molded product right through to F1, Aerospace and medical devices.
Many SYS customers initially use their printers as a prototyping tool. After a while, this quickly devolops to them being used for additive manufacturing purposes or for a critical part in the design process.
A lot of customer have developed into the stage where their printer is critical in their whole proces of business to the extent where they make business decisions based on the output of the 3D printing machine.
We have a purpose built customer centre, located in Derbyshire, allowing us to demonstrate our products as well as to work with customers in developing their applications allowing them to expand their existing use of the equipment.