Additive Manufacturing TCT a showcase for industrial AM polymer applications

Editor: Barbara Schulz

UK – The just-completed TCT show in Birmingham (28-29 September) offered some clear indications of the major trends that the additive manufacturing industry is going to be following in the near-to-medium term future, especially with respect to polymer-based applications.

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Stratasys' next-gen 3D Demonstrator breaks barriers in part performance.
Stratasys' next-gen 3D Demonstrator breaks barriers in part performance.
(Source: Schulz)

In fact, TCT in Birmingham is shaping up to become a leading global event for industrial AM polymer applications whereas Formnext, also organised in collaboration with TCT, is aiming to become the reference European and global event for metal AM, among other applications, Smartech Publishing says. Speaking with a EOS area sales manager, it was clear that the company is confident about its production capabilities, both in metal and polymers, Smartech reports. According to Stratasys, the new M400-4 with four lasers is likely become a reference for high-speed laser powder bed fusion.

Stratasys announced it at IMTS, however TCT gave the opportunity to the European public to understand exactly what the company means by its new Infinite Build, 7-axis based approach to thermoplastic production and composites. Next-gen 3D Demonstrator has the ability to build on an infinite size platform, meaning that its thermoplastic technology could be used for building very large objects, including airplane wings. Possible future applications include the use of multiple robotic arms and, perhaps even more importantly, long fibre composites through continuous, adjustable extrusion size and deposition rates.

Furthermore, two leading UK based 3D printing services, 3D PrintUK and Digits 2 Widgets, demonstrated that SLS can already be competitive with injection moulding on up to 20,000 parts if considering small geometries.