FELIXprinters is positioned exceptionally well in the 3D printing /additive manufacturing sector. The company provides a range of industrially-oriented 3D printing platforms which are characterized by competitive accuracy, ease-of-use, and a range of build envelopes to accommodate numerous applications. However, with all the high end features demanded when 3D printing is used as a production technology, FELIXprinters technology platforms are relatively low cost, and open up the possibility for companies to invest and bring 3D printing in-house rather than outsourcing.
The discipline of Additive Manufacturing (AM) is regularly cited as being “disruptive” to traditional manufacturing processes. Indeed there are existing AM production applications today across various vertical sectors that support this position, where optimised components and parts that would be either impossible or economically unviable to produce using traditional methodologies, have been made using AM technologies.
However, uptake of AM processes for production applications is still relatively low. The reasons for this include high capital and running costs; high consumable costs; inconsistent material properties which are a significant prohibitor for critical components; and, often, a failure to understand when and how to apply AM to maximize its benefits.
These general considerations must be appreciated by any company as they commercialise a technology or service in this space, and must inform the positioning of the company, the technology, and the solutions that it provides at every step to ensure optimal commercial uptake. In essence they present the backdrop against which all of FELIXprinters’ activities have been framed.
FELIXprinters’ has adopted a pragmatic view of the market for additive manufacturing. It works with its customers to define the business need for the use of 3D printing for production applications, but it does so from the perspective of a company that has listened to industry feedback, and has reacted, especially to the need for production quality AM platforms, but at a price point that is not prohibitive.
It is clear to see that there is a vast constituency of potential AM users that see a compelling reason to use AM for some manufacturing applications (typically low to medium runs), but cannot contemplate the level of capital expenditure required to get them in-house, and are often put off by the apparent complicated nature of the technology. Add to this the requirements for skills, training and the well-documented shortages of professionals in these areas, and the status quo is often viewed as being favourable.
This constituency of potential AM users are also poorly served by the conventional entry-level AM platforms that are available at a price that they can afford, these being the machines more usually associated with the maker community, and characterized by low price, lack of reliability, poor print output, high failure rates, and time-consuming operation.
It is specifically because of this gap between supplyof lower cost, reliable and accurate 3D printers and the demandfrom across industry that FELIXprinters has successfully launched an array of 3D printing platforms (the Pro series, and L & XL machines) precisely focussed to service the latent demand for AM from vast swathes of industry.
Throughout its history, FELIXprinters has achieved a strong reputation for developing and delivering robust, reliable and accurate machines, servicing a growing client base with solutions that are far in excess of their requirements in terms of accuracy at a price that is comparable with less functionalalternatives.
With the drive towards the adoption of AM for industry and manufacturing applications, FELIXprinters has logically leveraged this reputation and made an intelligent and concerted move to provide industrial AM solutions, at a price that makes them accessible to many industrial customers hitherto unserviced, and with an emphasis on true workflow integration and ease-of-use.
The Pro Series and L & XL Machines
The FELIXprinters industrial AM machines vary in cost from approximately €2000 to €13,000 depending on the build envelope required, and therefore present robust manufacturing solutions at an affordable price point. The full range of the company’s industrial AM machines are backed up by an array of ancillary products and services and pro-active post-sale “partnership” which is expected when companies adopt AM for manufacturing applications. All of this is in response to the feedback from industry that focused heavily on ease of integration of AM platforms into their product development and manufacturing processes.
The FELIX Pro Series offers a range of smart, durable and upgradable 3D printer options that perfectly combines an intuitive work flow with professional quality parts within any office, studio, or factory environment. Importantly, and distinctly, all Pro series 3D printers from FELIXprinters come with a unique service and support partnership that sets FELIXprinters apart.
The FELIX Pro Series provide professional quality, reliable, and highly functioning 3D printer solutions for product development and engineering applications, the design of the 3D printers being both aesthetic and functional.
The award winning Pro series of 3D printers are seen by industrial end-users to be both dependable and upgradable, and come with high level service and support guarantees.
The FELIX Pro L and XL 3D printers have been developed with greatly increased build volumes, up to 144 Litres (the Pro L can build parts up to 300 x 400 x 400 mm or 11.8” x 15.75” x 15.75”; while the Pro XL has a build chamber of600 x 400 x 600 mm or 23.62″ x 15.75″ x 23.62″). To ensure the quality and reliability upon which FELIXprinters has built its reputation, both of these larger systems incorporate highly engineered print chambers, which incorporate an enclosed warm zone and a cold zone. The warm zone supports consistent temperature control during the build, which is particularly important when printing materials with a high shrinkage factor, such as ABS, carbon fiber or Nylon. In contrast, the cool zone is where the electronics are housed, to prevent overheating and subsequent machine/build failure.
With the scale up, however, both the Pro L and Pro XL have also been designed specifically to be easily portable — at installation or within a manufacturing setting. Both can be easily transported through a normal office door opening (900 mm).
The new Pro L and XL system also come with a range of other automated and intelligent features that remove many of the tedious and time-consuming hurdles often associated with additive manufacturing and speeding up the overall process. A stand-out example of this is the design of the dual nozzle. When the dual extruders are printing together they are at different print levels, avoiding any collisions and minimizing print failure. Moreover, if one nozzle is idle, it is automatically rotated out of the way so that there is no interference with the printed part, again avoiding damage to the print (and print failure).
FELIXprinters has responded directly to one of the biggest barriers to adoption of additive manufacturing for manufacturing applications, namely the inability or unwillingness of companies to expend the capital assumed necessary to achieve the accuracy and reliability required when manufacturing end-use products.
Without compromising quality, accuracy, versatility, or speed, through its Pro Series of machines and the recently introduced L & XL machines, industry has access to competitively priced industrial additive manufacturing platforms that can now be used in-house and allows numerous manufacturers the ability to benefit from the use of 3D printing as a production tool.
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