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3D Systems Introduces Largest Selective Laser Sintering Unit

Image of the PRO 230 SLS Selective Laser Sintering Machine from 3D Systems

The PRO 230 SLS Selective Laser Sintering Machine from 3D Systems

2005-04-07 - Valencia, CA, USA: Digital manufacturing systems supplier 3D Systems Corporation (Nasdaq:TDSC), has announced the Sinterstation(R) Pro, an advanced new line of automated selective laser sintering (SLS(R)) manufacturing systems, available in two models: the Sinterstation Pro 230 SLS system and the Sinterstation Pro 140 SLS system. The Pro 230 SLS is so named because it has a maximum capacity of 230 litres. This is 47% higher than any previous SLS system, and expands the range of applications to which digital manufacturing can be applied. Digital manufacturing, sometimes called 'fabbing' is the principle of producing solid objects directly from stored designs. It is also sometimes called '3D printing' because the 3D object is created automatically by the machine in the same way that a two dimensional printed page appears from a printer.

The new range was launched at 3D Systems annual Users' Group Conference in Tucson, Arizona. The company expects to begin shipments of this new product line during the second quarter of 2005.

These new manufacturing systems enable customers to mass customize and produce high-quality, end-use parts, patterns, fixtures and tools consistently and economically from proprietary, engineered plastics and metals, on-site and on-demand. The Sinterstation Pro line is an alternative manufacturing platform to traditional injection molding, casting and machining methods without the need to invest in expensive tooling, time consuming set-ups and labor-intensive secondary operations.

Sinterstation Pro systems feature a new family of integrated modules consisting of a reusable material cartridge, a removable part-build chamber, a finished part retrieval station and an automated materials recycling module.

Designed as a high-capacity, heavy-duty automated rapid manufacturing system, the Sinterstation Pro 230 can accommodate build volumes of up to 230 litres, 47% larger than today's largest competitive system.

Sinterstation Pro manufacturing systems also feature new high-speed digital scanning capability that enables the production of precision parts with enhanced feature detail and surface finish. New thermal controls with closed-loop intelligence facilitate consistent parts' manufacturing from build-to-build and system-to-system. The modular architecture affords customers the flexibility to choose the optimal configuration for their applications and to upgrade economically from one configuration to the next if and when required.

3D Systems say that the simple-to-use, integrated, smart accessories package, consisting of a material cartridge, removable build chamber, finished part retrieval station and automated material recycling module, provides for a clean, efficient, cost-effective and automated 24/7 "lights out" operating environment.

"We are enormously proud to introduce such an exciting leapfrog manufacturing solution at our annual Users' Group Conference," said Abe Reichental, 3D Systems' president and chief executive officer. "Reflecting over 10 years of lead users' experience and a great deal of proprietary and patented technology pioneering on the part of our own talented scientists and engineers, the new Sinterstation Pro is the latest word in rapid manufacturing systems for plastic and metal parts. The ability to mass customize complex geometries consistently without an expensive investment in tooling and the extensive lead times associated with traditional manufacturing methods should be particularly attractive to aerospace, durable goods, automotive, electrical components and medical device companies and their service providers.

"Compared to traditional manufacturing methods, our new line of Sinterstation Pro manufacturing systems significantly improves our customer's bottom line by enabling them to produce batches of complex, customized parts faster and more cost-effectively," continued Reichental. "Responding to the growing needs of our manufacturing customers to build even larger parts in a single build, the Sinterstation Pro is offered in an extended model (the 230) featuring a 47% greater build capacity than the largest competitive sintering system on the market today and making the new Sinterstation Pro ideal for the production of products such as large automotive parts, complex aerospace assemblies and durable goods structures. The Sinterstation Pro 230 can also produce up to several thousand parts in a single build, providing an effective alternative for producing short-run volumes of smaller parts such as clamps, brackets and electrical connectors.

"To further enhance the performance of Sinterstation Pro systems and to increase our customers' utilization of the systems' capacity, we developed an integrated, intelligent and flexible accessories package. The new material cartridge facilitates automatic replenishment of material to the system. Coupled with the automated material recycling module, the system is replenished with an uninterrupted supply of material as required around the clock. Because the removable build chamber is detached from the system at the end of the build cycle and cooled off-line, a new build chamber can be inserted into the system, and the next build cycle can commence immediately, thus increasing system productivity a great deal.

"We are excited about the potential that these new systems represent to our customers and, in turn, to our own business," added Reichental. "We believe that the significant performance enhancements and overall manufacturing capabilities offered with the Sinterstation Pro line along with additional materials developments will accelerate the adoption and expansion of rapid manufacturing as a viable, flexible and cost-effective alternative to today's traditional manufacturing methods," concluded Reichental.

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