Stratasys has unveiled a demonstrator that promises to herald the delivery of low-volume, continuous production using additive technology.
Stratasys’ Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator was introduced at the RAPID + TCT Show in Pittsburgh but the company has yet to put a date on its commercial availability.
The new modular unit contains multiple 3D print cells working simultaneously to produce parts in a continuous stream. Operator intervention is reportedly kept to minimum and finished parts are automatically ejected from the print cell prior to the build process being repeated, or embarking on a different job.
Additional cells can be added at any time to the scalable platform to increase production capacity as demand requires. Mass customisation projects are possible with the system, which is driven by a cloud-based architecture.
According to Stratasys, automatic queue management, load balancing and architecture redundancy enable accelerated throughput as jobs are automatically routed to available print cells. Stratasys claim that if a single print cell fails, the job will be automatically rerouted to the next available cell.
Target applications include education rapid prototyping labs and environments that would benefit from zero tooling production and a zero inventory supply chain.
“The Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator is an important milestone in the company’s long term vision to make additive manufacturing a viable solution for volume production environments,” said Scott Crump, Stratasys co-founder and chief innovation officer. “It combines our FDM print quality, GrabCAD control and monitoring, and a new multi-cell, scalable architecture.”