Nanofabrica released details of several parts produced on its Tera 250 AM system to show the versatility, extreme precision, and repeatability of the company’s micro additive manufacturing (AM) technology. The Tera 250 allows manufacturers to take advantage of extremely complex geometries at no additional cost.
“While the Tera 250 can cater for high volume applications (multiple thousands of small parts and components fitting easily in the machine’s 5 cm x 5 cm x 10 cm build envelope), the introduction of an AM solution for micro manufacturers also means that OEMs are able to reduce the reliance on economies of scale, as the technology makes full production runs measured in thousands as inexpensive as producing one,” said Avi Cohen, EVP Global Sales. “The Tera 250 makes low to medium-volume production runs possible that have previously been uneconomic due to the high tooling and set-up costs associated with traditional manufacturing alternatives.”
The Tera 250 opens up the potential for mass customization in the micro-manufacturing sector. For example for an industrial microlens housing, the overall dimensions of which are 6.586 mm (X), 6.586 mm (Y), and 4.081 mm (Z) to accommodate 2.00 mm diameter optical lenses. The dimensions of the housing need to be extremely accurate for the precise positioning of the lens, and the overall part size has to be extremely small to fit into the slim mobile phone housing.
The advantages of using the Tera 250 AM System include personalization of the lens housings for high-end customers, with no requirement for tooling or post-production assembly, which significantly reduces the time to market. In addition, they can incorporate properties and geometric complexity that would either be impossible of too expensive to achieve using conventional manufacturing processes.
The Tera 250 produced lens housings are characterized by extremely sharp and accurate features and fine details, and exceptionally smooth surfaces.
The second part showcased and produced on the Tera 250 is a mold insert with overall dimensions 11.659 mm (X), 22.248 mm (Y), and 19.521 mm (Z). This mold insert exhibits high-temperature resistance, high stiffness and robustness, and exceptionally high levels of detail and surface smoothness due to 1-micron layer thickness and 1.9-micron pixel resolution.
Using AM to make injection molds is the most cost-effective process when contemplating low volume runs, as it requires no expensive tooling, and fast turn-around times are achievable. In addition, AM facilities simple changes and design iterations speedily and at minimal expense.
“The Tera 250 appeals to an array of manufacturers that up until now have not been able to cost-effectively or efficiently fulfil design intent using traditional manufacturing processes. In addition, being agnostic to part complexity, and therefore allowing the manufacture of hollow structures, holes, complicated interior details, and atypical shapes, Nanofabrica’s micro AM technology is promoting innovation and therefore is accurately described a true enabling technology”, Cohen concluded.