Evolve Additive Solutions made a couple of interesting announcements this week.
The Minnesota-based company is developing a powerful manufacturing platform using a 3D print technology they call “STEP”, short for Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process.
STEP is a different process that uses a rotating drum. The drum is selectively energized, allowing it to pick up loose powder. The drum then rolls along the print surface, selectively depositing the powder. If this sounds like an old-time photocopier it should, as it’s a very similar process.
The key to STEP is that it can operate very rapidly. The drum can quickly roll over the entire bed depositing a layer. Contrast that with a laser based approach in which the laser must tediously trace each and every voxel on the layer.
That’s why STEP is targeted at production environments: a great many parts can be made in large batches.
The company announced “STEP Parts Now”, an online portal that provides direct access to a quoting engine for those requiring parts made with the STEP process.
Parts ordered on the platform will then be dispatched to the two production centers currently using Evolve gear: FATHOM in North America and alpha cam in Europe.
This is quite a good move because as a new-to-the-market process, many potential customers would be wary of acquiring the technology until they see it. Having an easy way to get parts online will be a way for potential customers to try before they buy.
Separately, Evolve also announced two new materials for STEP: PA-11(A) and Gray ABS. Previously the company only offered black ABS.
The new nylon material should be of considerable interest, as PA11(A) is a versatile material that exhibits great strength and is suitable for many different applications.
These two announcements should enable Evolve to attract more customers to their unusual and powerful STEP system.
Via Evolve Additive