Solid Concepts, which offers rapid prototyping and custom manufacturing solutions for hundreds of industries, recently acquired four new fused deposition modeling machines and one new direct metal laser sintering machine in preparation for complex applications requiring the durability, heat and chemical resistance and design freedoms these processes afford. The FDM machines are from Stratasys and the DMLS machine is from EOS.
Fused deposition modeling (FDM) works via heated extrusion nozzles, which deliver thermoplastics ranging in durability and chemical/ heat resistance. The process involves plastics aided by support material, allowing for seemingly impossible attachments and fixtures.
Ultem, a flame retardant material that meets FAR 25.853 and UL94V-0 standards, has been used in some very exciting aerospace applications recently, and the company now offers the Ultem material in rugged Ultem black.
FDM is an additive manufacturing process that delivers functional products. The industrial printers at the company include eight Fortus 900 machines that have huge build platforms that easily see production runs of small- to medium-sized products ready overnight. Solid Concepts is now home to more than 25 of these industrial FDM additive manufacturing machines.
Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) works via a bed of powdered metal and one very strong laser. The metal is sintered together and actuated via special gases fed into the build chamber. DMLS has seen maximization in the medical field with its cobalt chrome material. Cobalt chrome is highly resistive to oxidization and corrosion. DMLS, as an additive process, can build custom one-off products and therefore works well in the medical industry as the field continues to seek custom applications to suit specialized procedures.
The rising demand for additive manufactured products will push the envelope of design in the manufacturing world. The company continues to provide education and advice to the industry, helping these processes become utilized to their full potential.
Solid Concepts' in-house technology process offerings also include stereolithography, selective laser sintering, polyjet and polyjet over-mold, 3d color prints, cast urethanes, CNC machining, tooling, and injection molding. Recently, there has been an influx of interest in additive manufacturing, and the company (with over 20 years of experience and knowledge in the field) has moved to meet rising demand.
Photo: An aileron hinged flight-control surface for aircraft wings made from FDM. (Source: Solid Concepts)