EPSON announces the launch of a new industrial 3D printer which can use commonly available materials such as resin and metal pellets to produce strong industrial parts of various sizes and functions. According to EPSON, the machine is ideally suited to mass customisation. It employs a unique material extrusion method that is achieved using a flat screw (an inline screw with a flattened configuration) like that found in EPSON’s precision injection molding machines.
The 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, which can provide high heat resistance. In addition, 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. The temperature at the surface of a piece being printed must also be controlled in order to obtain the required strength. EPSON is aiming to commercialise the printer after first making refinements while utilising it internally to volume-produce certain parts for commercial and industrial equipment.