Micro-scale 3D printing company Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF) has introduced its latest system, which it calls the “first and only micro-precision 3D printer designed to meet the needs of short-run industrial production.” The new machine, the microArch S240, offers a larger build volume and up to 10 times faster printing speeds than BMF’s preceding 3D printer models.
BMF’s new microArch S240 system is based on its patented Projection Micro Stereolithography process, also known as PµSL. The technology uses a flash of UV light at micro-scale resolution to quickly photopolymerize an entire layer of liquid polymer. While most of BMF’s systems offer the same resolution (10 µm) and accuracy ( +/- 25 µm), the new microArch S240 stands out for its significantly larger build area (100 x 75 mm). This feature enables users to produce larger components or to produce larger batches of small components for industrial-scale production.
“Until now, this coveted combination of quality, strength and resolution had been missing from industrial production, particularly for use cases that require high precision and micron level resolution,” explained John Kawola, CEO Global of BMF. “With the microArch S240, users can finally make end-use micro parts at speeds that are required for production, with resolution, accuracy and precision that is true to CAD. Smaller parts no longer need to mean bigger headaches or bigger price tags for manufacturers and engineers.”
The PµSL-based 3D printing unit is well suited for manufacturing prototypes or end-use parts for medical devices like cardiovascular stents and endoscope shells, as well as for microfluidic, MEM, biotech, pharmaceutical and electronic applications, among others. The technology is also compatible with a range of industrial-grade materials, including composite polymers and ceramics. BMF highlights that the system can handle materials with viscosities of up to 20,000Cp, enabling the production of stronger functional components.
BMF has also taken this opportunity to introduce a new engineering material for its platform developed in collaboration with BASF. The new material, BMF RG, is from the Forward AM Ultracur3D photopolymer resin line and offers high strength and durability.
“The new BMF RG material from the Forward AM Ultracur3D photopolymer resin line will enable users to achieve ultra-high resolution of their parts,” said Oleksandra Blacka, Business Development Manager of Photopolymers, Medical & Dental at BASF. “The microArch 240 printer is addressing a market that has previously been unserved. This collaboration will now enable customers, especially in the medical industry, to assemble complex items that were too small to handle on previous printing platforms.”
The microArch S240 is the latest addition to BMF’s micro-scale 3D printing portfolio, which also includes the microArch P130, S130, P140, S140 and P150. Its systems are in use across several industries and in research labs, including at the University of Nottingham, Accumold, Empire Group and 2think. The new microArch S240 is already in use at Isometric Micro Molding, a micro molding solutions provider for high precision markets.
“We chose BMF’s microArch 3D Printer due to its ability to replicate critical micro features. Their unique Projection Micro Stereolithography (PµSL) technology prints 3D parts with ultra-high resolution and accuracy, which is key to our business,” said Donna Bibber, VP of Business Development at Isometric Micro Molding. “This is the first 3D printer we’ve encountered that can print micro-precision parts, with the dimensional accuracy and precision that our customers require at this stage of product development. We have put the BMF parts through the same rigorous CT scanning inspection process of our micro molded components and were amazed that dimensionally the parts fell within the tolerances required. Our customers have been equally amazed.”