This is going to be a year of transition for 3D printing, a year that will see many big names try to make their mark, including HP. These giants, however, will have to compete with current industry leader Stratasys, which is going to put up a fight to lead the next generation of 3D printing, judging by the latest launch of the J750 6+1 materials, full color, polyjet 3D printing system.
Stratasys is not a huge company (by big-tech standards) but its almost $1b bln a year revenues entirely derive from 3D printing (compared to the any newcomer’s current $0). The company has gone through some tough times on the stock market and consumer market, however it owns one of the, or possibly the most advanced 3D printing technology there is for polymers: multi-material, multi-color digital liquid resin ink jetting.
This is currently the only technology that can control both the color and the mechanical properties of a material at a single voxel level. HP’s Multijet fusion aims to do something similar with powders however it remains to be seen if and when that machine’s potential is going to be fully actualized. Stratasys technology, on the other hand, is fully tested and already meets the highest reliability and quality standards in the industry.
The new J750 represents the next generation of 3D printing in that it enables mixing-and-matching full color gradients alongside an unprecedented range of polymer materials, to achieve one-stop realism without post-processing. This makes the ultimate 3D printing solution for product designers, engineers and manufacturers, as well as service bureaus and just about any prototyping sector.
Stratasys presented the new system at an exclusive VIP event in Colorado, at the head office of Otterbox. This giant in mobile phone accessories, with over $500 million in yearly revenues, makes intensive use of rapid prototyping in its workflow. “We’ve used 3D printers for years but nothing has come close to revolutionizing our design and ideation process the way the Stratasys J750 has,” said Brycen Smith, engineering technician supervisor for OtterBox. “Stratasys allows us to innovate in ways we never thought possible and gives us the ability to create true product-matching prototypes and to cut down the time necessary to bring products to market. The Stratasys J750 is a game-changer for both OtterBox and the 3D printing industry.”
The Next Generation of 3D Printing Means Easy Multimaterial
The J750’s one-stop realism is supported with a streamlined workflow beginning with the all new PolyJet Studio™. The software’s new intuitive user interface allows users to simply choose materials, optimize the build and manage print queues. Assignment of colors, transparencies and rigidity is eased via familiar design controls. Color textures can be loaded fully intact via VRML files imported from CAD tools.
“With the introduction of the J750, we are harnessing more than 25 years of experience to set a new historical milestone in 3D printing – reaffirming our commitment to keeping customers always on the cutting edge of innovation,” said Josh Claman, Chief Business Officer, Stratasys. “With its one-stop realism, the J750 is quite simply a game changer. By combining full color with multiple materials and a streamlined workflow, it recalibrates the impact of 3D printing in the product development cycle. Informed design decisions can be made immediately after the concepting stage. The time saved by eliminating the painting and assembly process can lead to faster product delivery times. The J750 is a multi-purpose system that can also produce production tools, manufacturing moulds, teaching aids, and other models – truly raising the bar in 3D printing versatility.”
The Stratasys J750 also minimizes downtime associated with material changeovers. Featuring a large, six-material capacity, it keeps the most used resins loaded and ready for printing. Newly designed, state-of-the-art print heads means simulated production plastics, like Digital ABS™, can be 3D printed in half the time of other Stratasys PolyJet systems. As 3D printed models are delivered complete with full colors, color textures and multiple materials, no time is wasted on painting and assembly. Owning a J750 is not for everyone however Stratasys has been making its machines more affordable to both buy, own and operate, enabling designers, medical technicians and engineers everywhere to find an more accessible entry point into the next generation of 3D printing.