How is the Figure 4 3D Printing Technology changing the production capabilities of the manufacturing industry?

How is the Figure 4 3D Printing Technology changing the production capabilities of the manufacturing industry?

I3DPN Core Team

3D printing has been in the limelight for a few years and is now set to revolutionise the production process for manufacturers. Today multiple manufacturers are increasingly adopting 3D Printing to improve their output, design and speed of production. Whether it is Healthcare, Automobile, Defence, Jewellery or any other industry 3D Printing has started to become an integral part of their manufacturing workflow.

With the improvement in technology and the continuous innovations, 3D Printers are now able to print end use parts of various sizes with the highest level of accuracy. One such technology that has catapulted 3D Printing into the production of end use plastic parts is the 3D Systems Figure 4 Technology.

Figure 4 has proved itself to be a productive and cost-effective digital manufacturing solution. Delivering parts with Injection Moulded like quality for a wide range of applications, Figure 4 is a tool less alternative to traditional manufacturing processes. Offering a large range of innovative materials, it’s a technology that is being adopted across industries.

 

The Figure 4 Technology with its multiple variants have expanded the use of 3D Printers across industries. For Jewellery pattern 3D Printing it offers the Figure 4 Jewellery, for low volume production the technology offers the Figure 4 Standalone which can be later scaled up using the Figure 4 Modular and the production variants of the Figure 4 Technology.

The breakeven point where 3D Printing becomes more cost effective versus the traditional manufacturing can range from 100 to 10,000 parts, which the Figure 4 Technology can deliver within few minutes to a months’ time, depending on the industry material and application. To understand the technology further let’s take a look at how the Figure 4 Technology is changing the production capabilities of the manufacturing industry.

The introduction of the Figure 4 non-contact membrane based Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology led to multiple transformations in the vital manufacturing and 3D Printing areas. Such as:

1. Prototyping

The Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology offered by the Figure 4 transformed the materials, speed and functionality with which prototypes could be efficiently produced. With print speeds of upto 100mm/hr in Z axis with some materials Figure 4 enabled a time to first print in hand within few minutes. Giving the user the advantage of same day prototyping with injection moulded like part quality.

 

2. Direct Digital Small Series Batch Production

Figure 4 has become an alternative traditional injection moulding that has enabled designs to go straight from CAD to manufacturing without tooling of delay. Helping manufacturers produce upto 10,000 parts depending on the part size using the Figure 4 Modular variant within a few days. Thus, also improving the time to market and reducing the total cost of operations.

3. Just in Time Manufacturing

Features like fastest throughput, high accuracy, tool less production. The advantage of a smooth surface finish due to the non-contact membrane along with the advantage of mobility make the Figure 4 ideal for Just In Time Manufacturing of end use parts. The compact nature of the machine allows it to be used in any corner of the office, without the need of any special site conditions.

 

Advantages of Figure 4 Technology

From the launch Figure 4 Technology has delivered huge advantages over traditional manufacturing in multiple scenarios, giving life to multiple ideas & designs benefiting manufacturers in many ways. Here are some of them:

1. Better Quality, Faster Time to Market & Lower Cost

Figure 4 technology with its non contact membrane delivers smoother and sharper finished parts. The tool less production of parts along with automated job management and queuing, automated material delivery and centralized post-processing help in faster delivery of the part thus reducing the time to market and cost.

2. Wide range of Materials

With over 30 years of proven R&D experience and process development expertise, the 3D Systems team has made a wide range of materials available for the Figure 4 Technology. Addressing a wide variety of applications needs, for functional prototyping, direct production of end use parts, moulding and casting, Figure 4 delivers highly accurate injection moulded like part quality with six sigma repeatability. With materials such as: Rigid Materials, Elastomeric Materials, High Temperature Material and Specialty Materials.

3. Mobility

The Figure 4 Technology offers a very compact design that allows it to be installed in any office space with minimum infrastructure changes. The plug and play operation of the technology helps it to be operated in any location without much difficulty. In comparison to traditional manufacturing processes a Figure 4 3D Printer offers a speedy manufacturing of parts in places where part production was otherwise unavailable. Thus, encouraging Just In Time Manufacturing.

4. Reduced Waste

Traditional manufacturing processes used a large amount of space and energy to store raw materials and finished products. With the introduction of 3D Printing the requirement of such space has become negligible with the material being stored in bottles in case of resins & powder materials and producing parts only when required in the quantity required. This in turn has reduced the amount of waste caused due to storage, part manufacturing and logistics.

Wide Range Of Applications

The Figure 4 Technology with its versatility and range of materials it can be used for a wide range of applications such as rapid iteration, functional prototyping, design verification, end-use parts for low volume production and replacement parts, digital texturing applications, jewelry casting patterns, rapid tooling of molds, master patterns, jigs and fixtures.

The Future of Figure 4 Technology In The Manufacturing Industry

In the near future we are looking at Figure 4 Technology replacing the injection moulding process in many of the applications and producing final end use parts, shortening the time to market further and benefiting manufacturers and end users. With the growing demand of 3D Printers and the superior technology of Figure 4 3D Printers the roll of 3D Printing will see a sharp increase in the manufacturing industry, since this technology produces better output in terms of design, finish, accuracy and speed with greater flexibility in customising products along with the comfort of producing any intricate or complicated design with the six sigma repeatability, by lowering costs and overhead expenses.

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