voxeljet has recently been the center of speculation about potential buyers, and amidst this buzz, there’s good news for the German company. Known for supplying sand and PMMA 3D printing equipment to foundries and automakers for casting, voxeljet has also ventured into commercializing high speed sintering (HSS) technology, similar to what Stratasys refers to as selective absorption fusion. voxeljet has now made a notable sale of an HSS system to FKM Sintertechnik, aiming for delivery in the second quarter of 2024.
The VX1000 HSS polymer system, designed for industrial manufacturing, is joining one of Germany’s largest service bureaus. FKM boasts a prominent role in the commercialization of 3D printed parts across various applications. With over 40 powder bed fusion systems and a wealth of experience in producing items like lamps, industrial components, and prototypes, FKM stands as an ideal candidate to capitalize on the VX1000 HSS’s capabilities. This service bureau, already equipped with 28 polymer systems, is the last to participate in the beta phase for the first batch of HSS systems.
The VX1000 HSS system, boasting a build volume of 1000 x 540 x 180 mm, has the capacity to print up to 7,300 cubic centimeters per hour. HSS is poised to excel in the production of high-volume parts and large components and could offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional powder bed fusion.
“Our broad customer portfolio requires maximum flexibility in production. we have been closely monitoring the development of HSS technology, and thanks to the VX1000 HSS, we will soon own a system that meets our requirements for flexibility and cost-effectiveness in equal measure,” said Jürgen Blöcher, FKM Sintertechnik´s Managing Director. “The VX1000 HSS’s higher productivity, combined with a lower powder refresh rate compared to SLS systems, will position FKM to deliver decisive economic advantages while allowing us to print a wide variety of parts in one job with maximum flexibility.”
“We are pleased to have FKM as a partner. As an early adopter of additive manufacturing, FKM’s expertise in polymer printing will be enhanced with the use of the VX1000 HSS. Our large-format printer will provide users like FKM with significant cost advantages over other powder bed-based processes available on the market today. Our open-source approach also contributes to this,” voxeljet COO Rudolf Franz said.
One of the key benefits of Voxeljet’s HSS technology is the freedom it offers to use any material, potentially slashing costs in the long run when compared to powder bed fusion, where materials are marked up by significant margins, sometimes between 450% and 1500%. This high markup is attributed to process-related constraints, conversion costs, and, to a great extent, profit margins. By offering materials with reduced margins, Voxeljet’s system could dramatically lower the costs of part production, making many more applications economically viable.
The high cost of materials is often the stumbling block for business cases in 3D printing; the perception that 3D printing is too expensive usually stems from material costs rather than the printing technology itself. A shift in mindset is needed: away from short-term profits to a long-term vision that seeks substantial gains in manufacturing. HSS, as a technology, holds immense potential to revolutionize manufacturing and make high-volume production more accessible and cost-effective.
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