Nexa3D, a California-based polymer 3D printing company, has announced the pre-launch of its latest 3D printer, the production-ready QLS 350 selective laser sintering (SLS) system. The new printer provides a very high level of throughput and flexibility. Additionally, it uses exchangeable build units, enabling operators to continue printing while one batch cools down. Nexa3D is currently in attendance at Formnext 2021.
According to Nexa3D, the company built the QLS 350 for maximum speed and throughput. With part density set to 20 percent, the printer can process eight liters of material per hour. This is partly thanks to its four 100W CO2 lasers. Production efficiency is furthermore increased by the exchangeable built unit feature.
Modular and flexible
“We wanted to address the problems associated with traditional SLS systems, such as lack of modularity and flexibility,” said Kuba Graczyk, Nexa3D’s Head of QLS business. “This includes the biggest bottleneck caused by these systems: the need to print and cool parts in the same machine. The made-to-measure, exchangeable unit in the QLS 350 removes this bottleneck, enabling manufacturers to continue operations while a part cools — a big step forward for SLS systems.”
Nexa3D is positioning its high-speed machine as a genuine alternative to injection molding — the foremost plastic mass production process. It is suitable for the printing of common molding materials like nylons PA11 and PA12, in addition to high-temp materials like PA6.
In addition to its high-throughput-enabling hardware features, the QLS 350 comes with software to improve efficiency. The software comes with a KPI dashboard monitor for tracking machine uptime, build success rate, parts printed and other metrics. It is also designed to work in a cluster with multiple printers and units. Furthermore, Nexa3D’s software operates as a digital twin, enabling operators to gather info on specific parts and track telemetrics. These telemetrics may include temperature, scanning speed and laser power.
“We’ve developed a system that could change how industry uses additive manufacturing in serial production,” said Graczyk. We have also taken steps to automate the manual process of changing units, for example by using autonomous guided vehicles that can transport and dock at each unit to streamline the process.”
As well as unveiling the QLS 350, Nexa3D has used Formnext to announce other business developments. The company has partnered with AI manufacturing software company Oqton to incorporate Oqton’s workflow automation tools into its new dental 3D printing offering. (This includes the NXD 200 dental 3D printer.) Nexa3D has also made several new appointments. It has hired Nina Swienton as chief marketing officer, Melissa Hanson as vice president of product and marketing management, Dr Mehdi Mojdeh as vice president of engineering and Mike Currie as general manager of its desktop business unit.