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8/18/2015

Strongwell adds rapid prototyping capability

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The pultrusion specialist has added a Makerbot Replicator Z18 3D to speed prototyping and help bring products to market faster.

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Pultrusion specialist Strongwell (Bristol, VA, US) reports that its on-site 10,000-ft2 laboratory is now equipped with a Makerbot Replicator Z18 3D replicator. Research and development is vital to the company’s future, and reliable material property data is necessary for design and development. The Makerbot Replicator Z18 replicator will produce parts needed for application testing, product development, and materials research.

This addition to Strongwell’s research and development department will provide physical, custom-shaped models and partial assemblies to couple with drawings, creating better user experiences with new composites. Future developments with this technology will allow Strongwell to create components of machine setups and prototype experimental tooling. Traditionally these tasks have taken days to weeks to accomplish, but now these elements can be manufactured within hours.

The Makerbox Replicator Z18 offers a large industrial build size, heated chamber, options to use multiple colors of PLA (polyactide) filament, and software that can convert CAD models into code for the printer. It has almost 2,600 in3 of build volume for custom and sectional test applications.  The ability to print at a 100-micron resolution allows the printer to produce a smooth-to-the-touch surface that doesn’t require sanding, finishing or post- production.

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