Prodways has been producing high-quality - and large scale - industrial 3D printers for some years now, but this week they announced a new series of 3D printers that use a completely different process.
Prodways’ first machines involved photocurable resin, where they had overcome the resolution limitation found on similar machines by including multiple projectors. From this Prodways grew significantly.
Now they’ve partnered with Hunan Farsoon Tech Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer of laser-sintering 3D printers since 2009. These machines use powder instead of resin to produce high-quality parts. As far as we can tell, Prodways’ new ProMaker P series of laser sintering machines is modified versions of Faroon’s equipment.
But the real key is in the materials. Powder-based additive machines can accept a wide variety of powdered materials with a wide range of engineering properties. Prodways simultaneously announced the availability of premium powders to accompany the new line of 3D printers:
- PA12–S 1300 – PA12 type nylon powder ideal for printing complex parts, in particular those used in the aerospace and automotive industries
- PA12-GF 2500 – PA12 type powder, fiberglass-reinforced for parts requiring more rigidity and better resistance to high temperatures
- PA12-CF 6500 – PA12 type powder, carbon-reinforced for greater resistance
- PA12-MF 6150 – PA12 type powder, reinforced with mineral fibers for smooth surfaces and high resistance to heat distortion
The new ProMaker P machines fall into two categories:
The ProMaker P2000 series: “provides top industrial performance in a compact format and offers a high-temperature version enabling printing with high-performance materials at temperatures of up to 220°C, thereby opening up the possibility of new industrial applications.”
The ProMaker P4000 series: “offers exclusive industrial production capacity with wide platforms and high productivity to print high-precision parts.”
These machines range in price from €200,000 to €450,000 (USD$215,000 - 480,000).
Here’s the interesting part: Up to now, Prodways has only offered resin-based equipment, which, while quite capable, addresses only one segment of 3D printing needs for industry. With the addition of the powder-based equipment, the company can now address two types of needs. This enables them to sell more equipment to existing customers who happen to require additional function.
But wait, there’s even more coming. They say:
This new laser sintering range enables Prodways to cover the majority of plastic industrial applications for 3D printing. This coverage will be supplemented by metal machines in 2016.
Stay tuned for a metal Prodways machine next year!