Last year, the 3D printing experts signaled an increase in their business for end-part production. At the end of this year, they are sharing more DDM (direct digital manufacturing) customer success stories.
At the end of 2014, CEO David Reis described the Stratasys strategy which included growing direct digital manufacturing (DDM). Throughout 2015, the company released products and showcased customers and partners who demonstrate and support this move to increased digital manufacturing.
In the first half of 2015, the company launched the updated Objet 1000 Plus - the company's largest format system supports more materials and uses an improved, faster, build process. The improved build times resulted from analyzing and optimizing the build process to remove unnecessary movements. The print speeds are improved to be up to 40% faster than the Objet 1000. Productivity is more than faster printing. The Objet 1000 Plus with it's large print envelope and multiple material capabilities provides greater flexibility to customers in organizing builds. For example, it allows clients to print prototype and final parts within the same build. The Objet 1000 Plus can now use more than 100 materials and up to 14 materials can be used in a single build cycle. New materials added to the selection include Stratasys' Endur Digital materials. The Endur materials combine 2 resins in a single material to produce parts with different material properties.
Stratasys enhanced manufacturing capabilities with material cartridges, the Xtend 500 Fortus Plus, which are five times larger. The significance is seen in having much longer, unattended build durations. The Fortus 380, 450, and 900 MC systems can all use the larger cartridges for production runs. The increased material capacity allows systems to run unattended for almost a week.
The focus on meeting the needs of industrial production environments pays off. The company had discussed uses for 3D printing on production lines. Companies such as Opel in Europe are using Fortus 3D printers to save costs and add flexibility on their production lines. The automotive giant uses Fortus printers to produce assembly tools and saves as much as 90% on tooling costs. The use of additive manufacturing for assembly tools reduces production lead times for tools as well as costs. A third benefit is the ability to quickly produce custom tooling.
Using 3D printing for tools, Opel involves assembly line workers in the tool design process. The experience of line operators in the tool design phase improves the efficiency of tool designs. Since the tool production is done using Fortus 3D printers, the iterative design process is also faster.
Stratasys focuses on the manufacturing customers as well as it's customers in rapid-prototyping. The two client groups have very different requirements. This is a reason for which the company is organized with an industry-specific go-to-market structure. One thing is sure, having made a commitment to support customers in Direct Digital Manufacturing, the company has delivered new products tailored to this segment and is, apparently, reaping the rewards.
Content for this article originally appeared on Engineering.com