Are Industrial 3D Printers Worth It?
What are the benefits of industrial grade 3D printers? What are the added features? Why have they stood the test of time? The points below not only illustrate the advantages of industrial 3D printing. In addition they address common concerns …
What are the benefits of industrial grade 3D printers? What are the added features? Why have they stood the test of time?
The points below not only illustrate the advantages of industrial 3D printing. In addition they address common concerns of manufacturers, when considering a 3D printer.
Now the technology has advanced, industrial printers frequently exceed expectations in areas of concern. They also move beyond many current manufacturing constraints. Here is an example!
To give the below reasons context and make the information easier to understand. I am going to use the Markforged X Series printers as our example.
Accuracy - Click Here
Finer detail parts are achieved consistently on industrial grade 3D printers. The reasons for being able to do so are multi factorial.
Encoded motors for driving movement
In the case of the Markforged, the industrial grade X series contains motors with encoders. As a result they provide constant feedback of where the motor actually is. In contrast to where the on board computer thinks it should be. Without this, prints can warp and distort.
Feedback loops for checking part accuracy
In the case of the Markforged X series there is a laser micrometer. Scanning and measuring the part during printing allows the Markforged to make micro adjustments, improving accuracy.
As well as scanning the part after it has printed to save massive amounts of time on inspection of parts. Scanning of the bed also takes place to adaptively level the bed for the first 20 layers, avoiding any discrepancies in the surface of the bed being transferred onto the part.
The laser on a Markforged printer also does a bead width test to measure the width of the extruded filament to further improve part accuracy.
Industrial Printers and there parts are built to last. The parts are tested and the printers themselves tested. Therefore you maintain a level of QA that is required to meet higher performance criteria. Furthermore the QA process is necessary to insure fine print tolerances, like +/- 125 microns that is achieved on Markforged X printers.
Materials - Click Here
Material choice increases with an industrial printer. The combination of superior hardware and software work together, to redefine what is possible.
Hardware to achieve complex/hotter heating profiles
The resistant extrude head, temperature changing bed and fans managing air temperature, increase material options. Subsequently you can extrude specialist high strength materials, as seen in Markforged 3D printers, at incredible precision and accuracy.
Industrial 3D printer components such as the extrude nozzle are resistant to abrasion. Extruding tougher materials such as carbon fiber would show nozzle wear immediately.
Material composites are an industrial feature; chopped carbon fiber within Nylon filament allows the creation of resistant, production ready parts. See how Dixon has leveraged this technology on their production line!
The combination of materials using dual extruders; extruding carbon fiber, kevlar or fiberglass filament in various patters throughout the part. Together with software like eiger, results in parts with mechanical properties akin to aluminum (patented by Markforged). See a 3D print tool for bending steel here!
Build Volumes and Print Times - Click Here
Larger Build Volume
Larger build volume allows the production of larger parts, maintaining structural integrity. When printed as a whole you also make big time savings. Joining smaller parts together to make the whole is not usually recommended. When you use a Markforged desktop counter part you lose %50 build volume!
Due to the feedback loops, measuring equipment and automation. Faulty prints are almost non-existent on an industrial grade machine. Improve print times, reduce cost further and remove design/setup errors with FDM 3D printing training.
Having a larger build volume also allows the printer to be printing more parts at once so you don’t have to be stopping and starting the machine. Run the machine over night to turn two days work into one.
Precision - Click Here
Achieving greater Precision often means removing human error. For example the laser micrometer within the Markforged X series scans the bed and commences auto leveling. Eliminating potential human error on setup.
Having a laser capable of measuring part geometry, Markforged have developed an AI software called Blacksmith. Blacksmith analyses the design against the scanned part and adjusts the 3D printer to produce the right part, every time.
High Quality and Tested Components
The 3D printers build quality assists in reliably producing finer detail on parts. For example using chemical/abrasion resistant, low tolerance and finer pitch grub screws. The results of which are finer control on the XYZ axis, on which the motors move the extrude head.
A stiff frame limits varying frame flex cause by the weight of the extrude head in its varying positions. To counteract any vibration, dampeners are also present. In the case of the Markforged X series, these parts can achieve a consistent layer height of only 50 microns.
Printer Reliability and Support - Click Here
Industrial printers are easier to operate and maintain whilst being proficient at every stage of prototyping. In the case of the Markforged go further, testing functional performance and creating production ready parts.
You can expect no down time when using an industrial 3D printer. The machines are over engineered and designed to run constantly over there lifetime.
Blockage and over extrude detection sensors are present on industrial FDM printers. In comparison to replacing a whole extrude head, a common occurrence with desktop FDM machines.
Industrial printers have priority over desktop printers when requesting top tier technical support. Consequently replacement parts will have a shorter turnaround.
Less Training and support is required on an industrial printer. The Bed leveling process on the Markforged X series allows you to rapidly expand who is capable of 3D printing within the business.
Usability and Access - Click Here
Industrial grade 3D printing is high quality and seamless. With minimal user input required it opens up possibilities on who can use a 3D printer. In turn, redefine how a 3D printer is used within your business.
Bed leveling is fully automated on the X series Markforged machines. Rather than needing human intervention, industrial printers use automation to eliminate potential errors. Expect to see major time saving’s and far less troubleshooting.
Use monitoring hardware such as cameras to view the status of prints whilst away from the printer. In addition Markforged industrial printers can use fleet management software to check the status of all your printers! This includes material info, print times and the ability to distribute a print queue to various printers.
Material storage is included standard with industrial printers. Consequently you improve print accuracy and reliability. Achieved by blocking moisture from seeping into the filament. If the moisture content is high enough, it can also block the extrude head.
When explaining, what makes a 3D printer industrial grade? 3D printing manufacturers often respond with there brand name alone. This isn’t reason enough for us.
SolidPrint3D promote industrial printers that clearly offer reliability and a range of features, above their desktop counterparts. Innovative industrial 3D printers are reshaping the manufacturing industry, as we know it.