Stratasys has begun commercial shipment of its new FDM 900mc direct digital manufacturing (DDM) machine. The company reports that it received unexpectedly numerous prerelease orders for the large-format machine.
“We presold 17 units,” says FDM product manager Patrick Robb. “We underestimated early demand for a system used in DDM applications.”
Historically, Stratasys additive-fabrication machines have been used strictly for rapid prototyping, but the 900mc was developed specifically for use in DDM. The machine is designed to serve the growing trend in low-volume manufacturing, especially in the automotive, aerospace, consumer product, and heavy industry markets.
All 17 units already sold will be used in direct digital manufacturing of end-use parts or fabrication and assembly tools. Some will double as tools for high-end functional prototyping.
Explains Robb, “The FDM 900mc programme is exceeding Stratasys’ expectations in several ways—in sales, in prospect interest, and in machine performance.”
The manufacturer’s developers were driven to produce high standards of accuracy and repeatability for the FDM 900mc. With a confidence factor of greater than 99%, the machine has an accuracy rating of ±0.127 mm or ±0.0015 mm/mm, whichever is greater. “This rivals injection moulding,” notes Robb. “For low-volume production, it’s a more cost-effective technique than traditional manufacturing.”
The Stratasys quality department completed an FDM 900mc accuracy study using three machines and building 144 standard test parts with 27 measurements per part, for a total of 3,888 measured dimensions. Results revealed that 99.9% of the dimensions were within specification.
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