Stratasys announces open materials approach for FDM 3D printing

Stratasys has announced it is expanding the open materials approach it has adopted through the acquisitions of Origin, Xaar 3D and RPS to its Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) offering.  

The company says this will enable users of its FDM 3D printing systems to address new applications with ‘demanding requirements while also having dual sources for materials.’

In establishing an open materials approach for FDM, Stratasys has introduced a three-tiered Material Ecosystem that includes Preferred Materials, Validated Materials and Open Materials. Stratasys Preferred are those materials designed for the highest performance applications developed by Stratasys or a third-party materials partner; Stratasys Validated are those validated with basic reliability testing to accelerate the expansion of material options; and Open covers unvalidated materials accessed via an Open Material License – these materials may offer unique attributes, but have not been tested or optimised relative to performance and functionality on a Stratasys printer.

Users of Stratasys FDM machines will now have access to system print parameters to refine material capabilities via GrabCAD Print software, while Stratasys-Validated materials are expected to be made available during H2 2022, starting with the Fortus 450mc machine.

“Our customers urgently need the benefits of additive manufacturing at scale in their organisations – addressing sustainability, cost competitiveness, agility and customisation requirements,” commented Stratasys Manufacturing Senior VP Dick Anderson. “Our three-tiered material ecosystem will help bring material innovation to our customers faster so we can continue to ensure the most trusted and reliable additive manufacturing platform is a substantial and essential part of the global manufacturing economy.”

“Innovative materials are the fuel powering additive manufacturing,” offered Hugo da Silva, VP Additive Manufacturing at Covestro. “That means we need more variety in materials to address as many manufacturing applications as possible. At the same time, we want to ensure customers have the utmost confidence in the performance of those materials. Stratasys’ new programme is an important milestone for our industry, and we look forward to being a significant FDM filament provider.”

ECCO leverages Origin One

Stratasys has also revealed its partnership with Danish shoe manufacturer ECCO, who is using the Origin One 3D printing system to print moulds and shoe lasts.Printed with a Henkel Loctite photopolymer, the moulds and lasts are said to be quicker to produce and significantly cheaper than CNC machining them in aluminium. The material has been formulated to meet the specific requirements of ECCO’s Direct Injection Process (DIP), with the resulting moulds able to endure thousands of shots with zero visible degradation, according to the partners. With the ability to print moulds overnight, designers are also able to test functional shoes earlier in the development cycle and get products in the hands of clients for feedback much sooner.

“Our innovative approach to footwear development and desire to put customer experience as a priority made additive manufacturing a logical next step in the evolution of our development process,” commented ECCO VP of Research and Development Jakob Møller Hansen. “In our search to find the right partner, we tested a variety of 3D printers for surface quality, print speed, and accuracy. Among the printers we tested, the Stratasys Origin One was the 3D printer that best met our stringent requirements.”

“ECCO’s case is a great example of how the footwear industry is embracing additive manufacturing for functional shoe parts, which goes beyond typical applications like sport shoe cushioning,” added Chris Prucha, CTO of Production P3 for Stratasys. “We were able to collaborate with ECCO to provide a solution that allowed them to further innovate their processes and produce a quicker development workflow.”

GrabCAD Print for the H350

Meanwhile, Stratasys has also introduced GrabCAD for the Stratasys H350 SAF 3D printing system.

GrabCAD Print for the H350 has been launched to ensure that the end-to-end additive manufacturing workflow is ‘easy, accessible, affordable and connected.’ The software provides advanced print capabilities that allow users to stack parts automatically or manually maximise packing density, while also providing access to applications like GrabCAD Print Mobile, GrabCAD Shop, reporting and analytics, and machine connectivity.

The Stratasys H350 will ship in Q4 of 2021, with the GrabCAD Print software to be made available to users via an annual license at a price of $7,999.

“As more and more customers ramp up their additive manufacturing operations to production levels, it’s important that we provide them with a software solution to allow them to do so easily,” commented Victor Gerdes, Director of Product Strategy for Stratasys. “When combined with the H350, GrabCAD print is helping customers reach not only their production goals, but their industry 4.0 objectives as well.”

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