Massachusetts-based 3D printing vendor Inkbit has launched its Vista Additive Manufacturing System with closed-loop feedback control and multi-material capabilities.
An inkjet platform, the Vista is being brought to market off the back of a $12 million investment round which drew contributions from the likes of Stratasys, DSM Venturing, Ocado and 3M and took the total raised up to $15m. The technology originated from research led by Prof. Wojciech Matusik at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, with Inkbit being spun out in 2017 to commercialise the process.
Harnessing the $15m raised since then and making the Vista available for pre-order, Inkbit is now doing just that. Inkbit Vista is powered by proprietary Vision-Controlled Jetting technology and multi-material design software that the company believes will help users ‘bridge the gap’ from prototyping to full-scale production.
The system is capable of depositing up to 2.75 litres of material per hour, has a maximum print speed of 22 vertical mm/hour and can achieve an accuracy to tens of microns. Additionally, it has a 500 x 250 x 200 mm build volume, is fitted with four materials (three build and one support) that can be expanded to eight and has a modular architecture that is said to enable the replacement, repair and upgrading of components quickly to maximise machine uptime. The machine also features automated build plate loading and post-processing, while a scanning system generates a topographical map of each layer after deposition to monitor and correct any discrepancies.
Meanwhile, Inkbit says Vista can tackle ‘production-grade materials’, including high-performance elastomers with shore hardnesses as low as 28A and the ability to stretch over 600%, and high-temperature materials that retain their properties up to 170°C. It can deposit these materials within the same part to reduce the need for post-print assembly, while the machine’s 3D scanning system can also train machine learning algorithms to understand the properties of each material and anticipate their behaviour.
Inkbit believes these capabilities help to provide manufacturers with the reliability, throughout and quality required on factory floors. Already, the company has received significant funding from DARPA and NSF for the development of its technology and applications in the medical field, while also counting Johnson and Johnson among its partners. As well as investing in the company, the Ocado Group has also outlined its intention to explore the potential for implementing Vista in its own business.
“We are thrilled to launch Inkbit’s [Vista] Additive Manufacturing System and offer a unique, rapidly deployable 3D printing solution to companies looking to adopt digital manufacturing,” commented Davide Marini, co-founder and CEO of Inkbit. “Today, engineers are often using 3D printing technology to make prototypes, but limitations in materials and high costs make end-use product production difficult. At Inkbit, we’re on a mission to disrupt that notion and create a technology that provides fast printing capabilities with unmatched design freedom and reliability for even the most demanding applications and environments.”
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