German 3D printing company Voxeljet AG began beta programs with Tier 1 automotive suppliers and material suppliers to test its new VX1000 HSS 3D printer for volume production of additive polymer components.
Its two, first-announced participants, auto supplier Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. KG and materials supplier Covestro AG, will work with Voxeljet to help develop uses for and add new material options for its high-speed sintering printer.
The printer, which has a print space of 1 meter by 540 millimeters, uses selective laser sintering with binder jetting, which allows for strong, functional parts and high productivity, James Reeves, global director for polymer printing at Voxeljet, told Plastics News.
"Most other types of 3D printing uses a hot point source … like a laser or a nozzle," Reeves said. "That's like trying to paint your wall with a … pen. It would take forever."
The new VX1000 is more like painting with a roller, he said.
The 1-meter-wide print head "covers the area much quicker," Reeves said. "Our throughput is significantly faster than any other printing type. Because it's also very scalable, we don't need to add more lasers. We just increase the printhead width or move it further."
Printing at larger scales, around 50,000 parts per year or higher, he said, is what its injection molding and Tier 1 customers are looking for.
Brose will run the printer for six months, Reeves said, with a three-month development phase at Voxeljet's headquarters in Munich. For the second half of the program, the system will be moved to Brose's additive manufacturing center in Coburg, Germany, an Oct. 26 release said, to be integrated into its production space and optimized for specific applications.