3D-printing stalwart Formlabs today showed off a series of new solutions that enables its customers to dramatically increase their 3D-printing output. The result is better large-scale manufacturing options and a significant reduction in cost per part, given that machines don't have to sit around waiting for operators to fill resin tanks or remove parts.
The Automation Ecosystem, as the company is calling it, made its debut at CES in Las Vegas today. We took a closer look.
The main evolution of the system is to increase printer utilization so users can produce parts and prototypes around the clock. It'll no doubt be a boon for its existing customers, including a large-scale adaptation in consumer products, prototyping, product design and dental applications. The Automation Ecosystem can be used to expand a Form 3+ or Form 3B+ 3D printer to a scalable fleet of 3D printers.
"The Formlabs Automation Ecosystem is a seamless solution for ramping up production with 3D printer fleets, staying true to the ease of use of all Formlabs products, so anyone can make anything. These solutions will enable companies such as dental labs, service bureaus and internal job shops to ramp up production without increasing labor requirements or expensive capital investment, making 3D printing for production more cost-effective," said Formlabs Chief Product Officer David Lakatos. "Formlabs users have recently achieved a major milestone, with more than 100 million parts printed on our 3D printers, and by adding this ecosystem, Formlabs is increasing the capacity so users can deliver further 3D-printing innovation."
The new software and hardware solution, combined with 5-liter resin supplies, means that printer arrays can print around the clock without operator assistance. Image Credits: Formlabs
The company claims that the innovations launched today provide a three-time increase in productivity while saving up to 80% on labor, lowering cost per part by 30% and reducing packaging waste up to 90%.
The full suite of products includes Form Auto, which includes automatic part removal. Once the part is removed, the next part can start printing. Fleet Control is an improvement in the company's existing software suite — Dashboard and PreForm — to introduce queue management and optimizes workflows. Finally, the High Volume Resin System increases resin capacity by 500%, from the 1-liter cartridge the printers use today, to a five-liter tank, compatible with the Form 3+, Form 3B+. Form 3L and Form 3BL.