California-based thermoplastic 3D printing company NXT Factory is unveiling its high-speed Quantum Laser Sintering system, the QLS 350, this week at RAPID + TCT. The 3D printer is reportedly capable of achieving print rates four times faster than other laser sintering system and comparable to HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology.
NXT Factory’s QLS 350 system has been in development for the past three years and is capable of printing high-performance thermoplastics at rapid speeds. The system’s print rates are enabled by NXT Factory’s proprietary beam delivery system, autonomous powder management, thermal management and automated docking.
Another notable feature of the Quantum Laser Sintering system is a removable and robotically guided print chamber. This piece of equipment allows for independent cool down and, along with an optional autonomous depowdering module, enables production rates and performance comparable to more traditional injection molding. Manufacturers can use the QLS 350 in an Industry 4.0 setting for automated, 24/7 operation.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring to market the first ever high-speed, high-temp, high-performance polymer system at comparable costs and performance of injection molding,” said Kuba Graczyk, Co-Founder and CEO of NXT Factory. “Over the past three years, we have worked diligently to develop, test and perfect what we believe to be the only fully automated laser sintering production system featuring robotically guided exchangeable powder cart, integrated thermal management and multiple sensors. Our cloud-based production management system gives end users total control over their printing processes.”
Tomasz Cieszyński, Co-Founder and CTO of NXT Factory, added: “At the heart of our technology is our proprietary beam delivery integration with deep-learning algorithms that make real-time predictive and prescriptive choices to enable intelligent high-speed printing and real time quality monitoring layer by layer. We are focusing all of our development and manufacturing efforts around product quality and reliability to ensure that each and every one of our customers enjoys continuous and repeatable performance on their production floor.”
NXT Factory has worked closely with a partner in the automotive industry to validate its QLS 350 system in terms of cost effectiveness and productivity. According to Avi Reichental, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of NXT Factory, the system proved capable for improving the cost efficiency of low-to-medium production runs of 8,000 to 12,000 parts.
He said: “Together with our automotive partner, we are successfully improving the cost effectiveness of short production runs including the elimination of expansive tooling, reduction of change over times printing with supply chain validated materials that are recognized by the injection molding industry.”
In addition to unveiling its QLS 350 3D printer for the first time, NXT Factory has also launched its preferred materials partner program with qualified third-party suppliers. The materials program aims to introduce and adapt a variety of high-performance thermoplastics, such as of PA6, PA12 and PETG, from leading materials suppliers for the Quantum Laser Sintering platform. The company is currently seeking partners for the program.
The 3D printer, which will be displayed this week via private appointment, is expected to ship in the second half of 2019.