Stratasys Offers Electron Beam Melting System for Rapid Manufacturing and PrototypingMINNEAPOLIS—(BUSINESS WIRE)—March 2, 2006— (Nasdaq: SSYS) Stratasys today introduced the ARCAM(R) EBM S400, a rapid manufacturing and prototyping system that makes 100 percent solid metal parts.
The highly efficient system produces metal parts 3 to 5 times faster than other additive fabrication methods. Employing the patented CAD to Metal(R) process, which is based on Electron-Beam Melting (EBM), the system produces parts from titanium powder.
In contrast to laser sintering (SLS), the electron beam fully melts the metal particles to produce a void-free part. The process occurs in a high vacuum, which ensures the part is completely solid, without imperfections caused by oxidation.
The EBM systems are manufactured by Arcam AB, for whom Stratasys recently became the exclusive long term North American distributor.
"Stratasys is eager to bring this hot technology to North America," says CEO Scott Crump. "We're confident in its potential, and we think having a U.S. source will make it even more attractive to manufacturers here."
The EBM process is ideal for applications where high strength or high temperatures are required. Medical product manufacturers can benefit from the parts' high flexural strength for bone implants requiring cycle life exceeding 10 million cycles (or movements). Automobile makers can build strong parts for high temperature testing, including under-the-hood applications. Aerospace engineers will be interested in the combination of a high strength yet light weight titanium part. And because the EBM process produces a homogenous solid, parts can be flight-certified.
All additive-fabrication processes build parts in layers following a tool path defined by CAD geometry. In the EBM process, each layer is formed when an electron beam, following the tool path, is directed onto a bed of metal powder. The beam liquefies the powder in fine paths, forming the required shape. The process uses a high power electron beam that is 95 percent efficient -- 5 to 10 times more so than a laser beam. This efficiency results in the creation of parts 3 to 5 times faster than other metal additive-fabrication methods, and it uses only seven kW of average power. With laser-based systems, like sintering, 95 percent of the light energy is reflected by the powder rather than absorbed, significantly reducing efficiency.
"The high speed electron beam system is the next generation of additive fabrication technology for rapid manufacturing of titanium parts," says Crump. "The machine creates parts comparable to wrought titanium and better than cast titanium, with a 95 percent powder recovery yield, which is unheard of in our industry."
Two variations of titanium "six four" alloy are available for the EBM S400: Ti6AL4V and Ti6AL4V ELI. Titanium parts created on the system are accurate near-net shape and are HIP heat treatable. The system builds parts up to approximately 8 x 8 x 7 in. (200 x 200 x 180 mm), with a layer thickness range of 0.002 to 0.008 in. (0.05 - 0.2 mm). Outside North America, the system is available from Arcam as the EBM S12.
The EBM S400 will be available for shipment in mid-March.
Stratasys Inc., Minneapolis, makes rapid manufacturing and prototyping systems and 3D printers, and it offers prototyping and manufacturing services. Stratasys equipment is used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, defense, medical, and consumer products. In 2004, the company installed 36 percent of all systems sold worldwide, making it the unit market leader for the third consecutive year, according to Wohlers Report 2005. Stratasys patented the rapid prototyping process known as fused deposition modeling (FDM(R)). The process creates functional models directly from any 3D CAD program using ABS plastic, polycarbonate, PPSF or other materials. The company holds 175 granted or pending global prototyping patents. In addition to manufacturing products, Stratasys is the exclusive North American distributor of PolyJet rapid prototyping systems and Arcam rapid manufacturing and prototyping systems. On the Web: www.Stratasys.com
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