When we first attended EuroMold, the 3D printers by and large were plastic. Now that’s changed. Significantly.
Certainly various plastic 3D printers still exist and were prominently displayed around the vast show floor, but something else was very frequently found: metal 3D printers.
Metal 3D printers were shown not only by the smaller vendors specializing in metal printing equipment, but also some of the larger vendors.
Most notably seen was 3D Systems’ vast display of equipment surrounding their gigantic show booth. Unlike previous shows, a number of exhibited machines were metal capable. The cornerstone of their display was the behemoth ProX 400, an incredible two-story device capable of 3D printing metal objects at a massive 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5m size.
This machine was by far the largest 3D printer of any kind we’ve ever seen. It is practically two stories tall.
And it’s cost, you might be wondering? We were too scared to even ask, as the multi-tonne machine is clearly priced a couple of stratospheres higher than we or anyone we know could ever afford.
Aside from 3D Systems, others demonstrating 3D metal printing capability were Solid Concepts, Arcam, Realizer, SLM, EOS, Additive Industries, Concept Laser, Arburg and others. There were more metal printers in one room than we’d ever seen.
Come to think about it, there were an awful lot of high-resolution resin printers present, too.
These metal printers are very important, since such devices in many cases practically enable printing of production parts. We could be seeing the beginning of the transformation of manufacturing from traditional approaches to a more dynamic 3D world of the future.