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Stratasys debuts new 3D printing tech partnerships with Ford and Boeing

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Stratasys has one of those classic founder stories. According to the company, inventor S. Scott Crump got the bright idea to make a toy frog for his daughter using a hot glue gun full of plastic and candle wax. That goofy little experiment marked both the birth of the company and the creation of FDM fused deposition modeling the technology that forms the basis of most modern desktop 3D printing.

If youve ever snidely suggested that a consumer 3D printer is nothing more than a modified glue gun, well, youre not entirely off-base. The company first commercialized the technology in 1990, and 15 years later, it would give rise to the RepRap open-source project that in turn begat MakerBot, the consumer-facing 3D printing golden child Stratasys would in turn pick up in 2013.

But the majority of the companys successes have been industry focused, primarily in the rapid prototyping space for companies ranging from Airbus to NASA. As with recent efforts from competitors like HP, however, Stratasys has been looking more and more toward direct manufacturing as a way forward for the industry, which has struggled some in the wake of massive hype surrounding 3D printing.

Today the company is announcing a pair of technologies aimed largely at the aerospace and automotive industries, two spaces that will be among the first to benefit from the manner of customization additive manufacturing brings. As such, its fitting that along with the new technologies comes the announcement of partners Boeing and Ford, who will be, exploring applications enabled by advances in Stratasys technology to ensure future systems are optimized for large scale manufacturing applications.

Both of the new technologies are firmly in the proof of concept stage, with the company demonstrating them to the public for the first time at a trade show in the coming weeks. The bigger of the two demonstrators is the companys new Infinite-Build system, which turns the standard FDM printing quite literally on its side, greatly expanding the build volume in the direction of the build, utilizing gravitational supports and bonding techniques.

That technology is of key interest to Boeing in the creation of light weight customized parts at relatively low volumes. Ford, too, is exploring the technologys potential, though those applications will likely be a ways off, until such rapid prototyping can be demonstrated at a much larger scale (a lot more people buy cars than airplanes, turns out).

The Robotic Composite technology, meanwhile, utilizes Siemens Industry Motion Control to create more complex composite structures. According to Stratasys,

The system eases labor-intensive processes and geometric limitations associated with composite part creation powering 3D printing via an 8- axis motion system to deliver precise, directional material placement for strength while significantly reducing complex support strategies.

Both are still early demonstrators, with no definite timeline for production, but some high-profile partners are already excited about the possibilities.

Stratasys is a maker of additive manufacturing machines for prototyping and producing plastic parts. The company markets under the brands uPrint and Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus Production 3D Printers. The company also operates RedEye On Demand, a digital manufacturing service for prototypes and production parts. Stratasys manufactures 3D printers for Hewlett Packard, which it sells under the

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3D PrintersStratasys Refines Multi-Material 3D Printing with Full-Color J7504 Apr, 2016By:Cyrena Respini-IrwinNewest PolyJet system from Stratasys promises highly realistic product prototypes without post-processing for a price.

Today Stratasys launched theJ750, which it calls the worlds only 3D printer to produce full color, multi-material prototypes and parts in a single 3D print. These capabilities improve on those of the companys Objet500 Connex3, launched in 2014.The Connex3 combines as many as three materials in a print job, yielding a limited number of color choices. The J750, in contrast, has the capacity for six materials per job (plus one support material), yielding more than 360,000 color combinations and full-color gradients. The color is also repeatable from part to part and from one machine to another, confirmed Roger Kelesoglu, general manager of global sales enablement for Stratasys. Texture mapping enables the replication of text, logos, patterns, and designs on the printed object.

Those features come in handy at theOtterBoxproduct testing lab in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the J750 is used to print prototype smartphone cases in a rainbow of colors and patterns. A prototype with an elaborate floral design would be infeasible to paint by hand, pointed out Brycen Smith, engineering technician supervisor, but it is no more difficult for the J750 to create than a solid-color case.

The team prints multiple iterations of each case design to check the location of buttons, tweak snaps, and ensure that camera openings do not obscure the lens. Its essential that every detail is perfected before moving to full production, because the company will build as many as 1,500 steel molds in preparation for a major product launch, said founder and Chief Visionary Officer Curt Richardson all of which would have to be changed in the event of an error.

His company has been using 3D printing to create OtterBox and LifeProof case prototypes for about 10 years, said Richardson, but now, thanks to advances in the technology, theyre real close to production parts.

The multiple material inputs enable the J750 to combine materials with different properties in a single print job, increasing the realism of prototypes by controlling their flexibility, glossiness, opacity, and other characteristics. A rubbery section that would have traditionally required overmolding can be printed at the same time as a rigid part or transparent window, for example.

This full-color sports shoe prototype was produced on the Stratasys J750 in a single print run. It features a rigid, smooth upper section, a rubber-like sole, and text on the insole.

A maximum build size of 19.3 x 15.35 x 7.9 (490 x 390 x 200 mm).

Horizontal build layer thickness as fine as 14 microns (.00055 in.); this is the highest resolution of the Stratasys PolyJet printer family.

Accuracy of 2085 micron for features below 50 mm; up to 200 microns for full model size (for rigid materials only).

Newly designed printheads that enable the J750 to print simulated production plastics, such as Digital ABS, in half the time of other Stratasys PolyJet systems.

The J750 is well suited to prototyping, but it can also produce final-use items such as production tools, manufacturing molds, jigs, and fixtures from engineering-grade or general-use plastics. Although creating prototypes for consumer product manufacturing will likely be the most common use, Stratasys also expects the J750 to appeal to design firms; service bureaus; educational, medical, and research institutions; and special effects and animation companies.

Although much of the initial interest in the J750 has come from current customers, the new model is also attracting a certain type of company to 3D printing for the first time, Stratasys Chief Business Officer Joshua Claman told Cadalyst. That group comprises companies such as industrial design firmSynergy, which didnt want to start a whole department around post-processing, Claman explained. In other words, the team was reluctant to add 3D printing to their workflow if it would require cleaning, assembling, sanding, painting, or otherwise fine-tuning their printed items.

Previously, Synergy would use a host of technologies to prepare a prototype, including CNC, water printing, casting, sanding, silicone engraving, and pad printing. With the adoption of the J750, however, the Synergy team was able to both simplify their workflow and avoid the post-processing steps required with some other printers.

Ultimately, the J750 implementation cut Synergys cost of prototyping by more than 70% and reduced average prototype creation time from three weeks to one day. Weve come up with a very disruptive printer, Claman commented.

Although the J750 is more broadly capable than its predecessors, Stratasys stresses that it is also easier to use, thanks in part to its new software. PolyJet Studio is designed to take the thought out of getting access to all that capability, said Kelesoglu.

The user interface in the new software is designed to ease the processes of choosing materials, colors, transparencies, and rigidity; optimizing the build; and managing print queues. Images and colors are preserved when users import projects from design and CAD software via VRML files.

According to Claman, the company is now in a stage of development where it is seeking to do the following:

Consolidate its leadership in prototyping, as the primary provider of both printers and services.

The J750 supports this goal, expanding both the types of prototypes that can be produced and the potential customer base for a high-end machine. Of the three primary use case types for 3D printing, prototyping is furthest along the adoption curve, explained Claman, followed by production tooling, with manufacturing of end-use parts still in its infancy. However, he believes there is still a lot of potential with prototyping going forward; a lot of segments that are completely under-penetrated.

Transition to a solutions orientation.

As an example of this mindset, the J750 printer is presented not a standalone item, but part of a package (including the software and support) that provides a comprehensive answer to a customer need. Software is going to be a key element in developing 3D printing, noted Claman.

As part of a focus on speaking the language of different customers in various industries, the company formed a vertical business unit, which is now in its second year.

Make a shift in its R&D roadmap toward manufacturing.

End-use parts are in an application discovery phase, said Claman, currently representing a very small portion of revenue across the sector. If 3D printing can take just 0.1% of the production parts market by 2025, Stratasys figures, thats worth a whopping $15 billion. Likely customers include aerospace companies, where 3D-printed parts are already making their mark because they can be simultaneously lighter and more complex than their traditionally machined counterparts. Heavy equipment manufacturers, which currently might have to maintain $500 million of parts in inventory to sustain their product lifecycles, are another target.

Manufacturing is more demanding than prototyping when it comes to tolerances, so Stratasys is focusing R&D efforts on decreasing variability ensuring that every completed part matches the originating CAD file and specifications exactly, Claman explained. There is also a need to manufacture parts bigger than Stratasys printer build trays can currently accommodate, so increasing machine sizes is another area of interest.

Regarding theacquisitions that Stratasys has made in recent yearsto support these goals, Claman said, We have all components we need to move ahead, but theres nothing static about it; what we have now is not going to serve us for the next five years.

Customers can order the Stratasys J750 now, but Stratasys has not publicly revealed its price. It is, said Kelesoglu, priced at a premium level, above the Connex line which likely puts it above $330,000. The J750 comes with a three-year Diamond Care warranty, which covers parts, labor, and printheads.

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PolyJet

Create prototypes, models and patterns in unparalleled resolution and detail with PolyJet. See your design come to fruition in vivid color and end-product feel. With over 100 material combinations to choose from, you can incorporate diverse material properties and aesthetics including flexibility and opacity directly into your component.

PolyJet is the perfect solution for designers who want realistic models but have to contend with inconsistent color results and rough finishes. PolyJet is the fastest technology in the Stratasys Direct arsenal, with parts ready to be shipped in hours.

3D printing with PolyJet allows you to incorporate multiple materials into a single print, resulting in quick production of realistic parts and design iterations early in the product development life cycle. 3D printing with PolyJet means the smoothest precision possible with fine resolutions that bring delicate features to life.

PolyJet builds by jetting layers of liquid photopolymer as thin as 16 microns (0.0006) layer by layer as a UV light cures simultaneously. PolyJet can print rigid and flexible materials in a single build to create over-molded parts without tooling. The technology delivers parts with shore hardness ranging from 27A-95A. Because PolyJet doesnt require hard tooling to deliver an over-molded part, it is frequently used for prototypes requiring an elastomeric surface, such as grips or buttons, or for testing material hardness.

Using our wide variety of PolyJet materials, you can combine several materials to simulate over-molding, build flexible and multi-colored parts, and create complex models. With a range of photopolymers to address functionality and cosmetic needs, PolyJet offers a cost effective and efficient solution for prototyping or modeling.

Years of PolyJet experience has made us experts in achieving amazing 3D printed components for your industry in a range of materials.

Precise PolyJet parts take a team of experts behind the machine, ensuring optimized designs produce perfect builds. At Stratasys Direct, our PolyJet services are backed by more than just Stratasys industry leadership; we have nearly thirty years experience in 3D printing and a tireless team of engineers ready to assist with every step of your project.

The use of PolyJet in a range of industries has led us to develop unique solutions in post-processing and material development in order to serve customers with versatile needs. With quality certifications ISO 9001 and AS9100 certifications and ITAR registration, our team of engineers wont rest until your requirements are met for precise parts.

How fast is PolyJet compared to other 3D printing technologies?

PolyJet is extremely fast the fastest of all our technologies. The actual turnaround time depends on the size of the component and desired resolution, but we ship most parts within 2 or 3 days upon receiving the order.

What level of detail can be obtained with PolyJet?

PolyJet is excellent at producing fine feature detail. At its highest resolution, PolyJet can build in layers as thin as 0.00063 and with an X/Y resolution of 0.0017.

Can components built with PolyJet function as production parts?

Yes, they can be used in some production and end-use applications. At Stratasys Direct, we have internal production uses of PolyJet. However, PolyJet materials are photocured resin which do not remain stable with prolonged exposure to UV light. Some high-requirement production applications are better suited to technologies that utilize thermoplastics like FDM and LS.

I can confidently say that having the [PolyJet] model here has a very positive impact on procedure results.

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Philips Teams Up With 3D Systems Stratasys for 3D Printing

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After launching IntelliSpace Portal 10,Koninklijke Philips N.V.(PHG-Free Report) strengthened its advanced 3D modeling capabilities further by signing agreements with 3D Systems Corporation (DDD-Free Report) and Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS-Free Report) the two global leaders in the 3D printing industry.

A couple of days back, Philips unveiled its IntelliSpace Portal 10 the first advanced visualization platform with an embedded 3D-modeling application, which will create and export 3D models intuitively into the clinical workflow.

The companys clients can enjoy a virtually seamless connection to 3D Systems and Stratasys solutions via IntelliSpace Portal 10. The solutions will help speed up 3D printing processes to create models, which will aid radiologists in understanding patient anatomy that is hard to visualize. Users will be able to create and save the model in IntelliSpace Portal 10, and easily transfer the data to the 3D vendors solutions, without needing to leave the clinical environment.

By advancing the 3D-printing capabilities, Philips will help empower providers to improve care for intricate cases and raise diagnostic confidence.

3D Systems solutions and 3D-modeling tools will help improve the clinical performance and optimize procedural outcomes through education and collaboration. On the other hand, Stratasys unique PolyJet-based full-color, multi-material 3D printing solutions will help provide customers with 3D printed anatomical structures on demand.

The significance of 3D imaging and printing in healthcare continues to gain credence as users see the relevance of its integrated workflows in surgery planning, training and education. Philips agreements with 3D Systems and Stratasys will help accelerate medical progress in superior planning and patient outcomes.

Philips has expanded its presence in the healthcare markets in recent quarters and projects this segment to be a long-term growth driver. However, the companys near-term performance is likely to be hurt by sluggish growth prospects of the healthcare market globally. For instance, slowing government spending and events surrounding the ACA (Affordable Care Act) legislation have harmed prospects of the healthcare industry in the United States.

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Is Stratasys Morphing From A 3D Printer Name Into A Materials Company?

3D printer shipments by Stratasys have been plummeting from a high in Q2 2014, while consumable revenues have been showing growth in the same period.

Increase growth in third-party consumables companies offering comparable products to Stratasys but at lower costs will erode revenues.

Stratasys needs to move to an open architecture for consumable utilization to re-energize its printer business.

I discussed in a Seeking Alphaarticleyesterday entitled 3-D Printer Companies Need To Make Critical Adjustments – And Soon that, among other things, printer companies need to reduce costs of consumables. I also mentioned that 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) CEO Vyomesh Josh commented at a recent conference that 3D Systems is a Materials Company.

I havent heard any similar remarks from Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) CEO Ilan Levin, but looking at the companys financials, it may indeed be the case. That is the problem from two standpoints: (1) price of materials is driving away printer customers and (2) third-party consumable merchants are selling material at lower prices.

Stratasys is commonly known as a 3D printer company, not a materials company. While Stratasys printer shipments increased 56.6% between 2013 and 2014 when the company acquired MakerBot, shipments dropped 46.9% in 2015 as shown in Table 1 Consumable revenues increased 32.5% in 2014 and 5.1% in 2015 driven by the addition of advanced material offerings and a growing installed base of systems.

If we look at printers on a QoQ basis, shipments have dropped significantly from early 2014 as shown in Table 2 below. The graph below is a better illustration in the drop in shipments from Q1 2014 through Q2 2016.

Stratasys reports in its Q2 financials that it has a huge selection of consumable materials for sale:

We also develop, manufacture and sell materials for use with our systems and provide related services offerings. We offer a powerful range of additive manufacturing materials, including clear, rubberlike and biocompatible photopolymers, and tough high-performance thermoplastics. We believe that the range of 3D printing consumable materials that we offer, consisting of 14 Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, cartridge-based materials, 25 Polyjet cartridge-based materials, five Smooth Curvature Printing, or SCP, inkjet-based materials and 158 non-color digital materials, and over 1,500 color variations, is the widest in the industry.

Of the eight acquisitions made by SSYS, only one, Interfacial Solutions, is a materials company. Nevertheless, as shown in Table 3 below, consumable revenues increased 32.5% in 2014 and 5.1% in 2015 driven by the addition of advanced material offerings and a growing installed base of systems.

Source: The Information Network (theinformationnet.com)

If we look at YoY changes in quarterly revenues for consumables in Table 4, they have been up in double digits for two of the four listed quarters.

Clearly, printer shipments have plummeted while consumable revenues have shown solid growth. However, competition from third-party material suppliers will grow and put pressure on revenues.

One such company,Argyle Materialsmakes an important statement on its website, which supports my above first thesis that the price of materials is driving away printer customers

Most people think about the Hardware cost when buying a new 3D printer. What most people do not realize is that over a 5 year period the Hardware cost of the printer will only represent approximately 10%-35% of the Total Cost of running the Printer over that period. Materials will account for ~70% – 90% of your Total Costs of running your Printer.

Supporting my second thesis that third-party consumable merchants are selling material at lower prices, as illustrated in Table 5 below from Argyle Materials.

In another example of the third-party materials companies addressing the 3D printer market, Japan-based JSR recently invested in start-up Carbon.

Stratasys generates revenue from two divisions, Products and Services. Total Net sales in 2015 were $696.0 million as compared to net sales of $750.1 million in 2014, representing a decrease of 7.2%, as shown in Table 6 below. Stratasys includes printer and materials revenues in its Products division. The company doesnt break out its revenues for printers or consumables.

Because of the growth in consumables shown in Tables 3 and 4 and the drop in printer shipments in Tables 1 and 2, SSYS has become more of a consumable company. But that could change as an increase in third party consumable suppliers. While Table 6 shows that the Products division dropped in 2015, it continued to drop for the six months ended 2016, as shown in Table 7.

What is more interesting is Stratasys Services division, which makes prototypes for customers. Chief competitors are DDD and Materialize (NASDAQ:MTLS). For 2016, SSYS generated 29% of revenues from services compared to 40% for DDD and 35% for MTLS.

The entry of GE (NYSE:GE) into the services sector through its earlier September acquisition of Arcam and SLS Solutions presents competition to SYS, but more so for DDD because of GEs emphasis on metal-based parts. So far in 2016, GEs services sector generated 46% of total company revenues.

The revenue and printer shipment data for SSYS shown in the tables above suggest that the company needs to refocus its business model by moving away from the high cost of developing and selling high-priced materials by establishing an open architecture, thereby making its printers more attractive. Secondly, the company needs to strengthen its services business, increasing from its 29% to the 35-40% range of competitors. One way of doing so is moving to metal 3D printing from additional acquisitions. 3D printing of metal products is achieving significantly stronger growth than plastic.

Disclosure:I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Stratasys Professional

Designers, engineer, innovators thousands of professionals rely on Stratasys to test and perfect their work with 3D modeling.

Stratasys range of Do-it-all printers use FDM Technology to build in real ABSplus thermoplastic, resulting in models and functional prototypes that are durable, stable and accurate.

Supported by GrabCADs intelligent software tools to design and manufacture, no other 3D Printer manufacturer has Stratasys depth of capabilities and support.

So, if you would like your workflow to go from this: To THIS!:

Then Stratasys has the technology for you.

Our price is lower than the manufacturers minimum advertised price. As a result, we cannot show you the price in catalog or the product page.

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Stratasys Objet Eden260V

Stratasys has created what iReviews considers the most versatile 3D printer on the market in its price range, for a price of 19,800 dollars. The Stratasys Objet Eden260V is the ultimate entry point into the world of mid-sized, high-quality precision prototyping. The 260 x 260 x 200 mm (10.24 10.24 7.9 in.) tray ..

Summary4.3greatPrice0Features0Design0Support0Summary rating fromusers marks. You can set own marks for this article – just click on stars above and press Accept.AcceptSummary0.0badStratasys Objet Eden260VPrice:$79,100

Overall, this printer is remarkable and innovative in the sense that it offers unprecedented return on investment for a wide range of professional rapid prototyping applications.

Stratasys has created what iReviews considers the most versatile 3D printer on the market in its price range, for a price of 19,800 dollars. The Stratasys Objet Eden260V is the ultimate entry point into the world of mid-sized, high-quality precision prototyping. The 260 x 260 x 200 mm (10.24 10.24 7.9 in.) tray size and peaceful, flawless process make the Objet Eden260V fitting for the office environment. The software it uses is STL and it offers many features, including network version, PolyLog materials management, slice on the fly, automatic real time support structure generation, Optimax printing optimization package, suggested build orientation and speed, and auto placement.

The Objet Eden 260V allows printing with a wide range of materials. To reach dimensional stability and provide smooth surfaces, it uses transparent materials for standard plastic simulation. Rigid opaque material comes in a variety of colors and the polypropylene like material has snap fit applications. There is also a family of rubber like materials that are ideal for a range of applications requiring non slip or soft surfaces. High temperature material is for advanced functional testing, hot air and water flow, static applications and exhibition modeling.

The Eden260V also offers a multitude of benefits other 3D printers available fail to offer. With fine details and fabulous software features, horizontal layers of 16 microns and thin walls down to 0.6mm, this 3D printing system is accomplished in being able to provide high quality detail that only the best 3D printers on the market can provide. The Eden260V also eliminates post-building and finishing processes during 3D printing. It is equipped with 1 head and a layer thickness of 0.016.

With new applications being discovered every day, the Eden260V 3D Printer still remains in-tune with its core strengths and benefits. It has outstanding surface finishes with high resolution on fine details, high resolution in all axes, and builds any geometry in a quick, clean and precise manner. It is also ideal for office and dental environments. Its low cost materials make it affordable. It successfully delivers smooth interior and exterior surfaces, including cavities. You can also cancel out the post-build processing and finishing stages during the 3D printing process, which adds to its versatility.

The Eden260V uses cutting edge proven PolyJet technology that provides a comparatively shorter product development cycle, as well as an innate and high quality solution for all of your printing needs. It offers a high resolution in all axes. PolyJet 3D printing is much like inkjet printing except that instead of dropping ink onto a paper, it jets layers of liquid photopolymer onto a build tray using UV light to cure them. The layers then build up one at a time to create a prototype. These fully cured models are able to be handled instantly without additional post curing. This PolyJet technology is the perfect solution to exact prototyping needs and it sets the standard for finished product realism. As a matter of fact, the Eden260V sets an entirely new standard by using this innovative technology.

With no plausible difference in print speed, the Eden260V 3D printer lets you decide between a high quality printing mode and a high speed printing mode. These two modes give you the flexible time and quality you need to meet your printing requirements. Printing on the Eden260V is as easy as 1, 2, and 3. You simply prepare your file, print your model, and remove supports.

Unlike most 3D printers available, the Eden260V boasts a compact footprint, as well an exterior design that is both lustrous and practicable. The printer can support up to four 3.6 kg cartridges of material, which allows unmanned operation for long periods. The Eden260V can run for at least 72 hours of continuous unattended printing, so if you want to run printing production seven days a week to boost productivity, you do not need to hire additional operators.

Stratasys is a world leader in 3D printing. The Objet Eden260V is one of their many 3D printers, from their Idea Series to Design Series to Production Series to Dental Series. Stratasys offers a wide range of help and support options to get you printing and keep you printing successfully. The company offers email support, telephone support, live chat, a forum and knowledgebase, tutorials and FAQs. The Eden260V allows you to connect with a USB or Ethernet connection.

Overall, this printer is remarkable and innovative in the sense that it offers unprecedented return on investment for a wide range of professional rapid prototyping applications. The Objet Eden260V is the ideal copier-size 3D printer for your office. It is capable of producing a massive variety of economical prototypes with its 3 dimensional printing system that compresses your product design to manufacturing cycle. It is a chosen must have in the field of dentistry and medicine, and we urge you to find out for yourself what makes this 3D printer so special, unique and perfect for the design you wish to manufacture. It is for these reasons that the Stratasys Objet Eden260V has been chosen as one of the iReviews top picks for 2015 best 3D printers over $5,000.

Your pricing on the Eden 260 is incorrect.

I work for the worlds largest Stratasys Printer Reseller GoEngineer.