Structur3D, a leader in the advanced additive manufacturing market for soft materials, announced the availability of the Inj3ctor Platform, a new solution for desktop injection moulding rubber parts. The company is advancing and solidifying 3D printing’s role within industrial manufacturing by expanding its material capabilities to create new products with factory-grade rubber materials, like silicones and polyurethanes.
The Inj3ctor is the first solution on the market to combine the principles of injection moulding with 3D printing. Using 3D-printed moulds, the Inj3ctor uses curated material cartridges to mix and inject 2-component (2K) flexible materials into any customizable shape, enabling turnkey, small-batch manufacturing of rubber materials.
This overcomes challenges manufacturing has faced as it seeks to embrace 3D printing. Currently, 3D printing of rubbers fails to meet necessary manufacturing standards, which has held the rubbers industry back in some regards in finding a legitimate seat at the table in advanced manufacturing. The Inj3ctor platform brings desktop injection and 3D printing together to deliver a viable solution for manufacturing functional parts. This approach, combined with the professional quality materials, mean the models are viable for every step of manufacturing, from prototyping to production.
The solution is also a pioneer in small-batch manufacturing as it also reduces the cost and procurement risks for manufacturing rubber parts. Manufacturers have either hand-casted or invested in expensive mass production tools to do this, if they didn’t choose to forgo the part all together in design. This is important as larger manufacturers begin exploring the future of manufacturing custom and on-demand products for consumers. This stands to impact many industries, including automotive, industrial products, aerospace, academia, energy, medical and various consumer products where the buyer is customizing some portion of the design, like what is being seen in shoes.
According to Charles Mire, CEO and co-founder of Structur3D, “As a team of scientists and chemical engineers, we took a materials approach to 3D printing technology and expanded the printers’ material capabilities beyond standard plastics. Our Inj3ctor platform spotlights our shift to industrial manufacturing markets and demonstrates how additive manufacturing can lead the way toward the factory of the future. The technology opens the door for product developers and manufacturers to accelerate research and prototyping while reducing risk in supply chain procurement and manufacturing.”
Product developers can design a hyper-detailed mould using standard CAD software and 3D print the part with standard, durable or dissolvable plastic. Then users choose from tens of thousands of liquid rubber materials, customizing it based on desired durability, flexibility, and cure time. After programming the mixing ratio and injection volume, the Inj3ctor fills in the mould, creating a fully-customized, flexible product.
The first batch of Structur3D’s new Inj3ctor platform for desktop injection moulding is preparing for shipment in Q4 2020 to industry 4.0 manufacturers. The Inj3ctor Platform Bundle includes the Inj3ctor, an Ultimaker S5 3D printer, materials for both and additional accessories and support.
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