Stratasys will be showing off a new variation of its Fortus 380 printer, the 380CF, which works with Stratasys’ Nylon 12 carbon fibre thermoplastic material.
The Nylon 12CF contains 35 percent chopped carbon-fibre and is said to be strong enough to replace metal, allowing designers to develop more practical and functional designs. Actually, there’s a great deal of work being done to develop plastic materials that can be used as an alternative to metal, which is likely to be one of the factors that drives the adoption of additive manufacturing.
This printer was announced earlier this year and shown at the Rapid event in the US but the TCT show in the UK in September will be its first European outing. Stratasys will use the show to demonstrate the material and to persuade designers to consider using 3D printed plastic composites in place of metal.
Stratasys has already had some success. A Dutch Service Bureau, Visual First, is using FDM Nylon 12CF to replace metal machine parts for its customers. This is helping to reduce the time to replace those parts with one customer, The Chocolate Factory, reporting that replacement time of broken machine parts has been reduced from one month to just one week, while costs have reduced by 60%.