from the February 2014 issue

Stratasys Launches Multi-Material Color 3D Printer

In April 2012 Israeli 3D printer company Objet announced a merger with its American counterpart Stratasys. Stratasys is shaking up the 3D printing game with introduction of the first and only machine that combines color with multi-material 3D printing.

The Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer is more than just a mouthful—it features a unique triple-jetting technology, which allows for an almost unlimited combinations of materials and color. It pops out a finished product, no assembly or painting required.

"Stratasys's goal is to help our customers revolutionize their design and manufacturing processes," CEO David Reis said in a statement. "I believe our new [printer] will transform the way our customers design, engineer and manufacture new products."

The team at Wisconsin's Trek Bicycle beta tested the printer, building accessories like bike chain stay guards and handlebar grips for assessment ahead of production.

According to prototype development group manager Mike Zeigle, the printer augmented their usual time-consuming process with "fast, iterative, and realistic prototyping and functional testing." Strata And the vibrant colors helped, too. Like any old inkjet printer, the Objet500 uses three color materials—VeroCyan, VeroMagenta, VeroYellow—to produce hundreds of color combinations.

Those colors are transferred to photopolymer supplies like digital materials, rigid, rubber-like, transparent, and high temperature ingredients.

More palettes are expected in the second quarter of the year, including rubber-like Tango colors, ranging from opaque to transparent colors for use in the automotive, consumer, sporting goods, and fashion markets.

As a multi-purpose 3D printer, the Connex3 is "in a league of its own," said Igal Zeitun, vice president of product marketing and sales operations. "[It enables] you to dream up a product in the morning, and hold it in your hands by the afternoon, with the exact intended color, material properties and surface finish."

Seven years after the Objet Connex Multi-material 3D printing platform was introduced, the newest model—the Objet500 Connex3—is available for $330,000 online and via Stratasys's worldwide reseller network.

"In general and with the Connex technology in particular, we will continue to push the envelope of what's possible in a 3D world," Reis said.

Stratasys last year acquired desktop 3D printing company MakerBot for $403 million.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report February 2014

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