Italy-based Roboze has focused on high temperature 3D printing for several years, a domain where exotic engineering polymers can be used to 3D print extremely strong and functional parts for production purposes. In some applications, the 3D printed polymer parts are strong enough to substitute for metal equivalents.
The two new devices are similar to prior equipment, but have been re-engineered to focus on a key issue in manufacturing today: replacing broken supply chains.
As a result of the pandemic and other global events, many companies find themselves without required parts. Parts orders are delayed, shipping costs are soaring, if you can arrange shipping at all. It’s not a great time to be a manufacturer.
This situation has caused many manufacturers to reconsider their approach and instead manufacture some required parts themselves. This is often being done with 3D print technology, because it is faster to set up than traditional production lines and offers the ability to instantly switch designs without much trouble.
That’s easy to say, but harder to execute. Manufacturers usually have sophisticated production lines with many steps, all organized for efficiency. Dropping a 3D printer into the middle of that can be quite disruptive.
That’s why Roboze redesigned their equipment to better integrate into a manufacturing scenario. The PRO devices, combined with updated Prometheus job preparation software, offer a more seamless path to achieve production. They explain:
“The machines offer quick and cost-effective access to the production of parts with well-defined technical and industrial requirements, as they can support the validation of finished AM parts with super polymers and technical materials (PEEK, TPU, ABS …), and, with the same solution, accelerate the research and development of new applications and the digitization of the warehouse of tools and spare parts. Productivity, quality, versatility and rapid ROI acceleration represent the common factors of the new series.”
What’s changed in the software? Again, they explain:
“Compared to the previous professional series, these two systems see an integration with Roboze Prometheus slicing software, developed for end-to-end workflow management, from the early design stages to the final production of the printed part. The software has strategic printing profiles that allow prints up to 2 times faster, compared to the industry average.”
Evidently they’ve prepared a couple of new print profiles for specific materials. The “UltraFAST” profile can produce prints in PA-CF up to 2X faster than comparable equipment. They’ve also produced a new “UltraQuality” profile to print parts with extreme tolerances when fine detail and high accuracy is required.
While the UltraFAST profile currently works only with PA-CF, Roboze has committed to providing a similar profile for other materials available on their equipment.
This is an excellent move by Roboze, which has apparently seen the problems encountered by manufacturers attempting to begin 3D printing. It’s not as easy as dropping in a machine and hitting the “print” button. There are many considerations, and getting the print profile correct is a key element of the solution. By providing ready-made profiles that can reliably produce quality parts at high speed, Roboze has solved a great deal of the 3D print adoption issues.
Simultaneously, Roboze also announced some new materials for their equipment. They’ve added a new PEKK high temperature material, and something called “ToolX CF”. They explain:
“Roboze ToolingX CF is a thermoplastic composite material loaded with carbon fiber. It is lightweight and with exceptional thermal stability and is inherently self-extinguishing. It has a high chemical resistance, as it resists organic acids, gasoline, oils, such as engine oil, brake fluids and coolants. These are features that place it among the most adopted materials in the aerospace sector and for tooling.”
Roboze believes (and so do some of their clients) that ToolingX CF can actually replace aluminum parts for industrial use in some applications. The advantage is that the polymer material can be much lighter due to the nature of the material and the ability to 3D print complex geometries that can’t be achieved when using aluminum metal.