Based on the high-throughput, planar, thermal polymer powder bed fusion SAF (selective absorption fusion) process, the Stratasys H350 3D printer is designed specifically for end-use parts production. With full commercial availability planned for Q3 of 2021, and some parts already available today in limited quantities via Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, the system is designed to give manufacturers production consistency, a competitive and predictable cost per part, and complete production control for volumes of thousands of parts.
“We see production-scale 3D printing transforming manufacturing in industries around the world as companies seek to move with more agility and efficiency. We believe the H350 and SAF technology stands out compared to traditional manufacturing methods and alternative 3D printing solutions when you need reliable and repeatable production at volumes of several thousand parts and with compelling economics,” said Omer Krieger, Executive Vice President of Product Strategy and Corporate Development at Stratasys.
Stratasys first shared details about SAF technology in March. The industrial-grade additive manufacturing technology executes key 3D printing steps in the same direction across the print bed to provide a uniform thermal experience – and therefore part consistency – for all printed parts regardless of their placement in the build. SAF can also contribute to lower operational costs and increase their predictability.
For example, the Big Wave powder management system reduces powder aging, while the warranty-protected industrial piezo-electric print heads have been designed to require no regular replacement. The one pass print-and-fuse process, 12% nesting density and minimized consumables enable the production-level throughput., with fine feature detailing and uniformity through the use of a single High Absorption Fluid (HAF).
The Stratasys H350 is designed to meet the needs of customers in industries such as commercial goods, automotive, and consumer goods and electronics that benefit from the ability to quickly produce large volumes of 3D-printed parts with compelling and predictable economics. Service bureaus and contract manufacturers also benefit from the industrial-grade performance of the system. Applications include end-use parts such as covers, connectors, hinges, cable holders, electronics housing, and ducting.
Goetz Maschinenbau, a Germany-based service bureau providing on-demand parts, is beta-testing one of the first H350 3D printers. The company provides a variety of automotive, consumer goods, and medical industry customers with end-use plastic parts, and already owns Stratasys FDM and PolyJet systems. Adding a new SAF-based 3D printer is a significant growth opportunity for the company, as it expands beyond CNC machining for end-use parts.
“We have ambitious plans to grow our business and we believe adding a Stratasys H350 will be a key component of that growth,” said Owner Philipp Goetz. “We have fulfilled orders for both large parts as well as up to several hundred smaller parts. We are impressed with the performance of the system and SAF technology, with consistent parts throughout the build volume. The system is impressively reliable.”
The H350 provides several control features designed to ensure the system is production-ready for companies ready to embrace additive manufacturing at scale. All build data is logged for process traceability and remains fully under the customer’s control. Materials can be controlled, tracked and traced, and print-settings can be fine-tuned for each customer’s needs.
The architecture of SAF technology enables part packing in the build volume to a standard density of 12%, compared to the 6-10% density that is more typical for powder bed fusion 3D printers. Moreover, Stratasys has been able to demonstrate support for packing densities of up to 23.5% in real-world conditions. Packing density directly translates into either more parts per build or a faster build time.
Uses range from consumer-facing products, that require a high-quality finishing, such as clips, eye-wear, consumer electronic cases and ear-phones, to parts with movement such as hinges, gears and clips; electric protection connectors, improved impact resistance or such as shatter-proof trims, durable housings and covers. The system can also be used to produce brackets, mold tools, machine components, jigs, adapters, manifolds and manufacturing aids.
For the H Series Production Platform, Stratasys is using certified third-party materials. The initial material for the H350 is Stratasys High Yield PA11, which is a bio-based plastic made of renewable raw materials derived from sustainable castor oil. Compared to PA12, PA11 has a lower environmental impact, superior thermal resistance and is less brittle. It has passed initial tests including ISO 10993-5 for cytotoxicity and UL94 HB for flammability. Stratasys ultimately plans to support a wide range of certified polymer materials, supported by the versatility of SAF technology.
In additive manufacturing, PA12 is the go-to material for prototyping. But in traditional volume production of end-use parts, PA11 is much more widely used due to its higher ductility, higher impact and higher fatigue resistance making it suitable for a wider range of industrial applications. PA11 is also ecofriendly and 100 percent bio-based from sustainably grown castor beans.
Recognizing the importance of enterprise connectivity for production scale and efficiency, H350 customers will be able to integrate with manufacturing floor systems through the MT Connect standard. Customers will also be able to utilize software applications such as Materialise’s Magics, Siemens NX, and PTC Creo with Stratasys Build Processor. Stratasys will also provide GrabCAD Print support in the future for build preparation.