Huntsman join the Direct Manufacturing set

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Huntsman Advanced Materials, a long time supplier of materials to the prototyping industry (it has the RenShape and Aralidite brands) is going to launch a rapid manufacturing machine which “significantly reduces production times and costs.” In a press release that says a lot, but gives away very little indeed, Huntsman claims to have “this new technology with pinpoint accuracy and speed which will make mass customisation a reality.” There’s also very little sight of the press release actually online either.

The machine is to be branded as the Araldite Digitalis and is based on a new polymeric additive fabrication system capable of manufacturing “at speed large numbers of parts simultaneously with previously unattainable accuracy.” The only details that are made available are that the system is based on entirely “new” micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS).

The release also claims that the system is “different from the light reflecting MEMS technology used in 3D printers. At the heart of Araldite Digitalis is the MLS MicroLightSwitch, a radical new exposure system operating via a computer controlled micro-mechanical shutter system which enables a large surface area of radiation curable resin to be selectively exposed in a single step. There is fast uniform exposure with high accuracy.”

While Huntsman provides very few additional details, reading between the lines, it sounds like the system is similar to that found in the Envisiontec machines, which are based on consumer level DLP micro light switching/reflecting devices. Huntsman expects Araldite Digitalis to be in commercial use later in 2009. If you want to have a look, wait for them to update the web-site or check ’em out at Stand No J164, Hall 8.0 at EuroMold 2008.

I am puzzled about why they would choose to name a product that’s “easy to use and maintain” after a plant that’s pretty much entirely poisonous.

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