Bolstering its ability to help UK manufacturers enhance their manufacturing processes, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), a UK-based independent research and technology organization, has expanded its advanced additive manufacturing portfolio by investing in an FDM-based Fortus 450mc 3D Printer. According to the MTC, the new addition strengthens its capability to meet more demanding production applications for UK manufacturers and develop new innovative solutions geared towards driving increased productivity and profitability across their businesses.
The Coventry-based MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult. Supported by Innovate UK, the HVM Catapult unites seven world-class facilities of technology innovation, including the AMRC and NCC. It is dedicated to providing access to world-class R&D facilities and expertise that would otherwise be out of reach for many UK businesses, introducing them to new technology and processes that reduce costs, create jobs and deliver impactful contributions to the UK manufacturing sector.
Since announcing an official partnership with Stratasys in 2017, the MTC has been utilizing state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to support customer’s manufacturing needs and objectives, which include engineering tooling and complex end-use parts. The Fortus 450mc installation complements the MTC’s existing stable of Stratasys PolyJet solutions, which comprises full-color, multi-material J-Series 3D printing technology, as well as the large-scale Objet1000.
On behalf of its customers – which include manufacturers across the aerospace, rail and automotive sectors – the MTC conducts test projects that explore the potential of additive manufacturing to overcome the limitations of traditional manufacturing processes. The facility is also home to the UK’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing.
Commenting on the investment, which was made via Stratasys’ local partner, Tri-Tech 3D, MTC Senior Research Engineer Hoda Amel, explains, “We have been very impressed with our PolyJet 3D printers, and adding an FDM-based solution to the line-up is a natural evolution as we look to expand our production-grade additive manufacturing capability to develop early stage new solutions for UK manufacturers that can then be passed on to the supply chain. Most notably, we now have access to a wide range of high-performance thermoplastic materials that enable us to explore multi-composite parts and complex tooling for engineering applications that continue to be sought by customers.”
According to Amel, using Stratasys Antero 800NA material and ULTEM™ resin gives the MTC the design freedom to produce highly complex geometries on customer projects, and also meet exacting requirements when it comes to high temperatures and chemical exposure. This enables the MTC team to test part performance under the extreme challenges and demanding material requirements of customers’ respective industries.
In addition to its role within the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing, the Fortus 450mc will also be utilized to improve manufacturing flexibility and enable rapid prototyping and replacement of aluminum tooling in the MTC’s robotics and automation department.
Yann Rageul, Strategic Accounts Director at Stratasys, comments, “The MTC’s latest investment expands their ability to deliver more value when addressing specific demands across more and more traditional production applications on behalf of those operating at the coal-face of UK manufacturing.”