By Shanie Phillips | Inside 3DP
As much as we all want 3D printers to become so mainstream that every consumer around the world has one at home for daily use, let’s face it: industrial printing is still dominating the field. Massive printers the size of entire rooms that cost over a million dollars are, surprisingly perhaps for some, doing quite well for themselves. The reason being is actually quite clear – large companies likeBoeing and General Electric with mega -sized budgets are investing in them. Although companies like 3D Systems and Stratasys are notably trying to focus on consumer growth, their range of industrial printers is still the prime money maker.
3D Systems was at the Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing Show in Detroit from July 9-11, where it showcased one of its successful metal printers to a large audience of over 3,400 attendees.Motley Fool 3D printing specialist Steve Heller saw the printer live in action and revealed what makes it so unique.
3D Systems’ upper hand: patented technologies
According to Heller, 3D Systems has a patented technology it uses for its metal printers that other companies don’t use. Whereas most metal printers use a ‘windshield wiper’-looking device that spreads metal powder very finely layer by layer back and forth, 3D Systems’ printers use a roller compress device instead.
What makes this better? According to Heller, the wiper-like device most metal printers have enables dust to come in between each layer and be spread across the surface, which can cause an unleveled surface and ruin the print. The rolling compress that 3D Systems has rolls tightly over each layer of metal powder, compressing it firmly and spreading it more thinly. This prevents dust from settling and creates a much more accurate print, which is obviously a huge selling point to any major company looking to 3D print metal parts in its products.
In the following video, Heller further explains the technology among a few others too that also give 3D Systems an upper hand. Whether you’re a potential investor, work in additive manufacturing or simply interested by what the technology and company have to offer, it’s worth some paying attention to.
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