Tech Talk: Additive manufacturing solutions specialist discusses capabilities of the Stratasys H350 powder-bed fusion production system

   By Karen Majerly on March 6, 2023

Mario De Lio is a Solutions Consultant for Javelin – A TriMech Company, specializing in advanced manufacturing technology and its many uses. He talked to us about the benefits and applications of the Stratasys H350™ powder-bed fusion production system.

Tell us about your background and expertise.

I’m part of TriMech’s Canadian team at Javelin – A TriMech company, based in Oakville, Ontario.

My education is in mechanical engineering. Before arriving at TriMech, I was a rail equipment engineer for the Greater Toronto Area’s commuter rail system, involved in testing the safety and performance of newly purchased locomotives.

My adaptability and openness to learning and innovation suits the additive manufacturing sector perfectly. My job involves talking to people about embracing change – it can be challenging, but it’s definitely rewarding, guiding people through adopting new technology that will make a real difference in their business.

Tell us about the technology at the heart of the H350 system.

The Stratasys H350 is designed to produce functional, end-use parts. It handles high-volume production.

The system is powered by SAF™ technology – that’s the Selective Absorption Fusion powder-based 3D printing process unique to Stratasys. Fluid is jetted onto a layer of powder-form material. One full-width pass of the print head fuses the layers together.

It’s a controlled, uniform process that creates accurate and high-quality parts, and you’ll have repeatable consistency throughout your build, whether you have large, flat surfaces or fine, complex geometry.

Your role involves educating clients about 3D printing technologies. Are people surprised by the capabilities of the latest production systems?

Some people still see 3D printing only as a method of prototyping. The advancements that Stratasys has made – in technology and in new material development – have allowed for the shift to systems that produce functional end-use parts.

In this industry, no one can afford to stand still. Stratasys continues to expand its offerings and create new materials for niche markets. For example, they didn’t stop at offering Nylon PA 11 and Nylon PA 12. Polypropylene is already available for benchmarking and will be released widely for client use soon.

All across TriMech, we’re here to stay on top of all the innovations and help clients understand and select the right options for them.

How does SAF technology compare to an FDM process, which people are more familiar with?

The sintering process within a powder-bed system fuses the layers of material together, creating nearly isotropic parts. Parts made using the FDM (fused deposition modeling) process have layer lines. Depending on how forces on that part behave, stress could be concentrated on those lines.

Design and print flexibility is exceptional with powder-bed fusion systems. You can take advantage of the height of the build chamber and nest the parts to maximize both the horizontal and vertical space. You can consolidate parts to make an assembly and print the whole thing at once. It’s just easier to meet production demands.

And you don’t need to account for adding support material, which acts as essential scaffolding in FDM systems.

powder-bed fusion printed parts with SAF technology on the Stratasys H350

Can you share a couple of examples that illustrate how to take advantage of the high nesting densities?

Custom-made devices used in medicine and healthcare are ideal applications. We recently did some benchmark parts for an orthotics manufacturer and made 44 pairs of insoles in one 13-hour build cycle. It’s a huge time savings compared to traditional CNC manufacturing, which of course is labor intensive.

If the parts are small – an inch or two – you can make hundreds of them in that same 13 hours.

SAF powder-bed fusion technology

What impresses you about the efficiency of the H350 system?

Developers at Stratasys are always thinking about efficiency and responsible use of energy and materials.

The powder is reusable. It’s actually possible to reuse all of your unfused powder, which significantly lowers your cost per part.

The industrial-grade Piezo-electric print heads are not only very precise, but also durable. Stratasys print heads are not considered consumables and need replacing only about every two years, whereas some other system print heads last only months.

Stratasys is also known for tightly controlling heat management in the chamber. The parts are heated as needed, with very minimal heat escaping into the room and no waste in energy consumption.

Who needs to know about the capabilities of the H350?

I can think of suitable applications across all sectors. In automotive, where components change from year to year, you’d have no need to rebuild new tooling – the H350 is the tool. You’d just adjust the digital design and print the components.

In industries where there’s a continual need to customize, such as in healthcare, and parts or devices would traditionally be made using a CNC process, 3D printing end use parts is ideal.

3D printed cycling saddle for DQBD

Stratasys has profiled a case in which German design and development company DQBD GmbH used the H350 to make custom saddles for cyclists. They are tailormade to an individual rider for performance and comfort, so the designers had to be able to continually adjust the complex geometric structure of the saddle’s load-bearing parts. Using the H350 for production is quick and affordable, and tooling costs have been eliminated completely.

Saddle and Spine DQBD SAF H350 Case Study

What’s the big picture here? Describe the wider impact of advancements in technology like the H350.

It’s the power of total design freedom. I believe having access to advanced additive manufacturing systems is already playing a huge role in improving product development across the board. It allows you to create the best possible design, without limitations, and move quickly to production and to market.

To learn more about the H350 powder bed fusion printer and find out if it’s the right fit for your facility schedule a consultation.

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Stratasys 3D Printers

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Karen Majerly

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