Top 8 Industry Uses of 3D Printing Technology

27th July 2016

3D Printing Industry Helps Companies Innovate Faster Than Ever Before

For many years 3D printing was inaccessible to smaller companies and remained only a viable solution for large enterprises because of its huge price tag. But now as costs plummet, making 3D printing more affordable than ever before, the technology in the 3D printing industry continues to improve and progress at an incredibly fast pace.

SYS Systems provides 3D printing solutions across the UK and Ireland, as Platinum Partner to Stratasys, we only supply the best 3D printing innovations. Our systems are guaranteed to improve productivity, accuracy, efficiency and design confidence as well as reduce expenditure and time.

Here’s Part One of Our Top 8 Industry Uses of 3D Printing

1. Aerospace

Fused deposition modelling (FDM) printing technology produces the strongest, most durable thermoplastic 3D models that contain fire retardant properties (ULTEM 9085 thermoplastic). Making FDM technology the number one choice for rapid prototyping in the Aerospace industry, reducing time and money spent on CNC milled parts whilst increasing product performance.
It works by taking the CAD file and slicing the design into 2D cross sections to prepare for the build process and with this determining a path. Then using molten thermoplastic filament ejected through an extrusion nozzle it builds the 2D cross sections taken from the design, layer-by-layer, producing a 3D printed model. FDM technology produces temperature, chemical, UV, and environmental resistant thermoplastic models that do not absorb moisture. SYS Systems supply many clients across the UK and Ireland with FDM printing technology, a few are UAV Solutions, Leptron and Kelly Manufacturing Company.

2. Medical

FDM technology is also put to use in the medical industry to produce customised fixtures, parts for medical devices, research aids and stronger tooling. Whilst Polyjet technology is also used because it offers multi material choices that allow the user to adjust rigidity, flexibility, as well as its opacity and transparency. This allows surgeons to reproduce organs in model form to determine the best possible solution to the problem.

The PolyJet printing process works by firstly extracting information from the 3D CAD file and calculating the photopolymer distribution layout, this preparation separates the CAD into fine layers, much like FDM technology. The 3D printer then jets layers of photopolymer materials, instantly UV-curing the miniscule drops of liquid material. These layers gradually accumulate to produce the 3D model. With PolyJet technology the user is able to orchestrate multiple builds in one production run, thus qualifying for industries like medicine where fast results could save lives.
Check out our Top Three Medical Applications to learn more about how Stratasys 3D printing technology is changing lives across the planet.

3D Printing in Medicine

3. Dental

PolyJet printing technology provides solutions for many industry applications including dentistry. With Stratasys Dental Series, 3D Printers supplied by SYS and specifically created to cater to dental industry requirements, users can produce photopolymer material models such as stone models straight from digital files, intricate and accurate veneer prototypes, surgical objects and clear aligners/retainers.

From compact desktop 3D printing systems to greater production capacity printers the Objet Dental Series can produce models and prototypes in a variety of Vero photopolymer and bio-compatible materials. For maximum capabilities dental facilities turn to the Objet260 Dental Selection that offers the largest variety of photopolymer material use including Vero, Tango, gum-like and tooth-like digital materials.

Stratasys Dental Series 3D Printers provide the perfect solution for dental labs of any size to increase in growth, productivity, quality, and accuracy.

Dental 3D Printing

4. Architecture

Before 3D printing technology architects methods of conveying designs to clients was through computer simulations or even handmade wooden and foam board models but through innovations in additive manufacturing, 3D printing has become an architectural companies preferred method for its ability to produce accurate and complex structures.

Both PolyJet and FDM technology can be used for Architectural design structure model purposes because of their high-quality and detailed printing capabilities. Examples of companies that use the different 3D printing technologies include Rietveld Architects LLP based in New York who use a PolyJet-powered Objet 3D printing system to produce architectural design models. As well as the Taiwan-based company, Transference, who create 3D architectural and display models for companies around the world using FDM technology with the Fortus 3D printing system by Stratasys.

Using 3D printing technology allows architects to present their clients with a valuable mode of communication as well as develop and refine the building structure by being able to assess the 3D model. By reducing the time usually spent on outsourcing or errors made through miscommunication with conventional methods of structural design representation, architects are now able to further reduce expenditure and strengthen the relationship between themselves and their clients.

5. Industrial Manufacturing

Industrial utilisation of 3D printing has limitless benefits for speeding up the manufacturing process through integration of a rapid prototyping iterative process using additive manufacturing. This allows industrial manufacturers to refine their components to deliver much more accurate end-use products at a much faster pace for less money.

Fike, a manufacturer in the industrial sector, reaps the benefits of additive manufacturing with the use of their Objet30 desktop PolyJet printing system, supplied by SYS Systems. As experts in rupture disc technologies, explosion protection, fire alarm systems and fire suppression solutions, Fike needed a prototyping process that would enable them to determine errors and make adjustments faster than conventional methods. They found the answer with SYS Systems.

Click Here for More Industrial Case Studies

6. Education

Since the rise of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education across the UK, 3D printing for use in educational institutions has become incredibly popular. This is because the process for manufacturing with a three dimensional printing system involves a range of STEM skills in pre-planning, designing and bringing the concept to life.

In providing students with a tool like 3D printing enables them to prepare for future innovations that they are likely to encounter in their prospective career. Implementation of this technology aims to inspire pupils by encouragement of creative thinking, problem solving and exploring the design process whilst developing essential STEM skills.

Ravensbourne College uses a Stratasys Objet260 Connex 3D printer, supplied by SYS Systems, to stimulate student interest in technology and inspire limitless creativity. They offer all Ravensbourne students the opportunity to work with the printer in order to provide every student with as much modern technology as possible, enabling future generations to understand future technologies.

SYS 3D Printing

7. Automotive

Component accuracy in the automotive industry is imperative where tolerances are concerned. Rapid prototyping with a 3D system enables automotive companies to experience faster production, component precision, quality, and improved part performance through a faster prototyping and verification process.

Although FDM technology offers maximum durability and strength as functional prototypes and end-use parts, PolyJet technology is also favoured in the automotive industry for its ability to produce rubber-like materials that is used specifically in producing and testing door seals, shock absorption and gaskets. Companies as big as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) use PolyJet technology for their multi-material capabilities. JLR uses a Stratasys Objet500 Connex 3D printer that enables designers to work more efficiently by allowing them to carry out more thorough testing, resulting in a higher level of confidence in the production process. For more case studies click here.

8. Consumer Goods

Rapid prototyping with a 3D printing system allows big brand names like Speedo to conduct a thorough iterative process in order to produce the best quality product with the highest possible performance. Integrating either PolyJet or FDM technology into your consumer goods prototyping or manufacturing process is proven to improve not only the end product but also offers a time-efficient and cost effective solution for your product development process.

SYS 3D Printing

Our Top Three Stratasys Printed Consumer Goods demonstrates the ways in which 3D printing innovates the design process so that companies like Normal can even carryout end product builds on their New York stores shop floor. With the Stratasys Fortus FDM 3D printer they were able to bring life to a design concept and offer their customers a personalised product that was not available without 3D printing technology.

Could you improve your design and development processes in your industry?

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