Epson has developed an industrial 3D printer capable of using common third-party manufacturing materials using an extrusion method evolved from its existing injection moulding technology.
The as yet unnamed Epson 3D printer employs a flat screw, an inline screw with a flattened configuration, like that found in Epson’s precision injection moulding machines.
This extrusion method enables the printer to be used with a variety of common third-party materials, such as resin or metal pellets, which are generally available at lower cost than other materials, environmentally considerate biomass pellets, and PEEK materials that can provide high heat resistance.
Additionally, the amount of material injected is precisely controlled by regulating the pressure within the head and by regulating the action of a valve in concert with the modelling speed.
Epson says that the temperature at the surface of the build part must also be controlled in order to obtain the required strength, and the new system employs a unique mechanism to precisely control this temperature and achieve both strength and accuracy.
“This 3D printer is thus engineered to manufacture strong, accurate objects with commonly available materials, facilitating printer use in the production of industrial parts for final products,” said an Epson spokesperson.
“It is ideally suited to mass customisation, as it can produce small batches of parts tailored to customers’ needs with higher quality, shorter lead times, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing processes.”
The Epson 3D printer will be shown in the Epson booth at International Robot Exhibition 2022, this month in Tokyo.
In addition to industrial 3D printers, Epson is also looking to innovate manufacturing by co-creating flexible, high-throughput production systems that reduce environmental impacts.