- Platform delivers fully functional production parts starting at a price point of twenty-five thousand dollarsDENVER, Nov. 7, 2017 — (PRNewswire) — 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) today announced the availability of its new Figure 4™ platform, the industry's first modular, scalable, fully-integrated direct 3D production platform. Available in standalone and production configurations, the Figure 4 platform combines services, technology, materials and software designed to revolutionize manufacturers' production environments -- helping customers bridge the chasm and move from rapid prototyping to full production.
The Figure 4 platform incorporates high speed digital molding, a process that speeds and simplifies the production of plastic parts -- enabling manufacturers to match the accuracy, reliability, repeatability and uptime of traditional injection molding.
Figure 4's ultra-fast print technology combined with production-grade materials enables up to 15x throughput improvements versus competitive offerings, at up to 20 percent lower cost of current manufacturing processes.
While 3D Systems' Figure 4 platform represents an innovative approach to manufacturing, the technology behind Figure 4 has roots in the early days of the company. In 1983, 3D Systems' co-founder and current Chief Technology Officer Chuck Hull filed a patent for the first stereolithography (SLA) printer, which included many of the processes and ideas found in the new Figure 4 systems.
A Modular Platform That Grows with Manufacturing Needs
Figure 4 is a flexible production system with models designed to meet the needs of various production environments, from standalone units to factory solutions for Aerospace, Automotive, Healthcare, Dental, Durable Goods and Service Bureaus. The Figure 4 hardware lineup includes four models:
- Figure 4 Production is completely customizable and provides customers with the ability to scale the technology as their business and manufacturing needs grow. Completely automated, the same or similar functional production parts can be built in high volume via an in-line production configuration, with integrated post-processing. Automated material delivery and integrated post-processing reduce labor requirements -- increasing productivity and lowering total cost of operation.
- Figure 4 Modular provides customers with an upgradable and affordable direct 3D production solution which includes automated materials-handling and centralized post-processing. As with all Figure 4 units, it is designed to grow with a customer's business as they move from prototyping to production. With operation from a master control box, each modular unit is capable of producing multiple unique parts simultaneously – saving customers time, money and resources, while speeding time to market.
- Figure 4 Standalone is an affordable, industrial-grade single engine solution for low volume production and rapid functional prototyping. Ideal for small design shops and OEMs, it provides industry-leading economical print volume at the lowest cost compared to other printers in its class.
- Figure 4 Dental is a single-engine, independent 3D printer with centralized post-processing designed for dental production, prototyping and sacrificial casting. 3D Systems' portfolio of biocompatible materials makes Figure 4 Dental the only printer on the market to address more than 10 indications.
Figure 4 solutions are designed to break down barriers found with traditional manufacturing processes, giving customers streamlined and efficient access to superior quality parts with minimal effort. In order to help customers increase productivity and efficiency, all Figure 4 configurations come integrated with 3D Systems' 3D Sprint™ and 3D Connect™ software.
3D Sprint helps customers address all aspects of print preparation from CAD model repair to automatic placement and support of the part on the print platform – while being able to submit and monitor jobs in the print queue.
Maximum uptime is critical in a manufacturing environment and requires ongoing status reports and preventative maintenance. 3D Systems' newest solution, 3D Connect™, a cloud-based software solution, delivers proactive and predictive serviceability for production environments. 3D Connect is comprised of two solutions: 3D Connect Service and 3D Connect Manage. 3D Connect Service provides a secure, cloud-based connection to 3D Systems' service team for proactive and preventative maintenance of the printer. Proactive scheduled maintenance and service alerts with remote diagnostics allow 3D Systems' service personnel to either solve problems remotely or mobilize a technician on-site, equipped with the necessary parts for repair. 3D Connect Manage allows customers to securely and remotely monitor the status of one printer or a fleet of printers, as well as view comprehensive and historical data to more effectively understand the utilization of their printer fleet. Customers can view and analyze a number of metrics such as materials usage and utilization rates, as well as receive real-time text and email alerts based on conditions they specify (e.g., job complete).
Significantly Expanding the Materials Portfolio
3D Systems is launching 15 new materials to be used in industrial and dental applications with its Figure 4 solutions. The company is the first to offer all the materials needed for production parts, including rapid prototyping, elastic, clear, tough (functional) and high temperature consumables.
While many competitive materials require lengthy photo- and heat-curing processes, 3D Systems' new functional plastics only require curing in bright light, making the entire process ultra-fast; delivering up to 15x faster throughput. Each product in the Figure 4 portfolio is capable of printing biocompatible materials, as well as those with elastomeric properties. All materials feature the same durability as traditionally manufactured parts, however the level of accuracy and surface finish is unmatched.
Groundbreaking Technology at an Incredible Price
In addition to offering versatile capabilities to disrupt the traditional manufacturing landscape, each printer model in the Figure 4 lineup is affordably priced, making the platform attractive and accessible to any sized business.
"Figure 4 is a game-changing production solution for additive manufacturing that will help CEOs bridge the chasm and move from prototyping to production," said Vyomesh Joshi, president and chief executive officer, 3D Systems. "Leveraging this platform approach helps us protect the investment of our customers and smooth the transition as they scale their operations."
The Figure 4 solutions will range in price from approximately $25,000 to over $1 million. General availability for the various Figure 4 configurations is planned to be staged across 2018:
- Figure 4 Production and Figure 4 Dental are planned for Q2 2018.
- Figure 4 Modular and Figure 4 Standalone are planned for Q3 2018.
For more information, please visit the 3D Systems website.
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