Additive Manufacturing Solidscape pushes 3D printing boundaries
United States - US-based manufacturer of high-precision 3D printers for direct manufacturing applications, Solidscape, specialises in printing 3D wax patterns for lost-wax casting and mould-making applications. CEO Fabio Esposito talked to Martin Courtney.
Founded in 1994, Solidscape is a 3D printer manufacturer with 5,000 customers worldwide, 45% of which hail from Europe, with the rest split equally across the US and Asia Pacific. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of additive manufacturing system maker Stratasys, which acquired Solidscape for $38m in 2011.
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Moulds for complex, intricate jewellery
Almost all of Solidscape’s revenue – estimated at $13.4m for the 2010 calendar year — comes from business-to-business (B2B) sales. The company has a particularly strong user base amongst jewellery manufacturers, who use its 3D printers to create moulds for their product designs, but its 3D printers are used widely in dental applications for the manufacture of crowns, bridges and partial dentures, and by component-makers serving the automotive and aerospace industries.
“One of the things we have specialised in is moulds used in the manufacture of very complex, intricate jewellery where the wax that we produce has been able to fulfil the burnout and shrinkage requirements,” Fabio Esposito, Solidscape president and chief executive officer tells ETMM. “We can do droplets with about 66 µm, which is one of the most precise and accurate technologies out there, but at the other end it is about material behaviour.”
Solidscape launched its MAX² 3D printer in May 2014, a device aimed at the high-precision casting market looking for a device to create wax patterns that can be used to make moulds of up to 152 mm x 152 mm x 100 mm in size for end-use parts in a variety of materials, from metals such as bronze, brass, silver and aluminium to ceramic, for example.
Esposito cannot reveal how many MAX² devices Solidscape has sold to date but says there is also strong demand from educational institutions.