We have exciting news to share with you!  Stratasys has completed its acquisitions of both Harvest Technologies and Solid Concepts, and we will combine them with RedEye to establish a single leading advanced manufacturing services business in North America and beyond.

We believe that joining forces will result in even greater opportunities for you, our valued customer. By bringing together Solid Concepts’ broad technology offering, Harvest Technologies’ expertise in advanced end-use parts applications, and RedEye’s capacity and intimate knowledge of Stratasys technologies, we are confident that we will be better suited together to meet your needs. Through us, your full service provider, you’ll gain greater access to the industry’s most advanced 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies, as well as traditional short and production run technologies, to bring your products from prototype to production.

With the acquisitions complete, we are moving swiftly into the integration of our organizations and processes. Joe Allison, the President of Solid Concepts, now a Stratasys company, has joined the Stratasys management team and will lead the combined service bureau business, supported by the strong management teams of Solid Concepts, Harvest Technologies and RedEye.

Given our shared commitment to innovation and service, we expect a smooth transition. Importantly, there will be no immediate changes in your relationship with us, and your day-to-day contacts will remain the same until further notice.  In short, it is business as usual. We remain committed to delivering high-quality, custom parts quickly as we work together to build the very best customer experience in the industry.

We will continue to keep you informed of key developments. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact your regular representative.

You have always been and will continue to be an important partner in our success. We greatly appreciate your confidence and support as we move forward with this exciting opportunity for our company, the industry, and you.

 

 

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has revolutionized the way we make things, and the applications are nearly limitless. A rapidly evolving technology, 3D printing has been utilized to create a vast array of items, including turbines, houses, guns, art and countless others. The aerospace industry has been using additive manufacturing technologies–particularly laser sintering–to manufacture prototypes for well over a decade and Harvest Technologies has been manufacturing parts for end-use production since 2007. Industry giants such as NASA, Boeing, Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin are embracing the technology due to the cost savings, rapid production times and the innovation it provides. Let’s take a look at how laser sintering can improve aircraft technologies and what the future of additive manufacturing holds for the aerospace industry.

Cost-Effective Production 

Laser sintering can cut costs by saving on materials, reducing waste, saving time on production and delivering faster turnaround for some builds. The ability to print on demand has important implications for the aerospace and defense industries, potentially reducing inventories and enabling the printing of parts when and where they are needed. Critically, many parts created using additive manufacturing methods are more lightweight than the same parts created using traditional manufacturing methods, thus producing a lighter aircraft and saving fuel.

The aerospace industry has gravitated towards laser sintering due to its ability to manufacture complex designs, as well as its process repeatability and dimensional accuracy. These qualities are imperative in aerospace manufacturing, as parts must comply to form, fit and function standards for certified flight hardware. Additionally, LS processes can build parts using a variety of materials with specific mechanical and chemical properties, such as flame retardant materials, which are needed to meet specific flight standards.

Fast Production Times 

3D printing technology is rapidly progressing and innovations in many areas are already leading to faster production times by reducing the amount of labor required to achieve desired results. An important cost- and time-saving benefit of 3D printing is part consolidation. Complex components that would traditionally require the assembly of many individual parts can often be printed in one piece, reducing labor and lead times.

Laser sintering in particular has many benefits that speed production for the aerospace industry. In addition to part consolidation, LS produces clean detail and relatively smooth surfaces, eliminating the need for extensive post-processing.

Innovative Technology

The aerospace industry has recently seen some major developments due to 3D printing technology. General Electric and Rolls-Royce have both used 3D printing processes to construct components for their jet engines. SpaceX recently announced the completion of the SuperDraco thruster, which features a 3D-printed engine chamber, enabling safer emergency exit strategies and proper landing on the Dragon spacecraft. Elon Musk, SpaceX Chief Designer and CEO, stated, “Through 3D printing, robust and high-performing engine parts can be created at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing methods. SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making our vehicles more efficient, reliable and robust than ever before.”

As 3D printing technology –including laser sintering–becomes more advanced and the breadth of material offerings widens, the aerospace and defense industries stand to benefit from considerable efficiencies and manufacturing innovations. Using advanced printers and metal-based substances, companies are looking to manufacture hard-to-make items for multimillion-dollar programs ranging from satellites to fighter jets.

Searching for 3D printing servicesContact Harvest Technologies for a professional consultation.

 

 

 

There are a variety of materials and processes that can be utilized in cast or molded parts. Choosing which process to use for your part or prototype can vary depending on the intended use of your part. Functional parts, prototypes and models can be produced with good detail and dimensional tolerance using casting and molding processes. Through a variety of casting and molding processes, a wide variety of ferrous and non-ferrous metals and alloys may be produced and can be machined for better accuracy, detail and finishing. Let’s take a closer look at the various casting and molding processes and design considerations for each.

Investment (Lost Wax) Casting

Investment casting (or lost wax casting) uses a casting process to construct quality metal parts and prototypes. In investment casting, a mold is first created by dipping a sprued pattern in ceramic slurry repeatedly until it forms a harden shell. Then the mold is steamed (autoclaved) and heated to eliminate the pattern. Lastly, molten metal is poured into a cavity where it solidifies. Once cooled, the shell is broken and removed from the casted part.

The main advantage of investment casting is the ability to produce complex metal parts quickly and inexpensively without any hard tooling.

Sand Casting

A mold is created through sand casting by packing a sand slurry, which hardens around the pattern. After hardening, the mold is removed from the pattern and molten metal is then poured into the remaining cavity. Once the metal has cooled, the mold is broken and taken from the part.

Sand casting has the advantage of cost-effectiveness for low volume production of metal parts.

Plaster Casting

Plaster casting makes use of a plaster slurry when creating a mold. After the mold hardens around a rubber pattern—which was cast in a silicone tool—the plaster molds are cured and molten metal poured into the cavity. Once the metal has solidified and cooled, the plaster mold is broken away and discarded, leaving you with your newly constructed part or model.

Looking for casting or molding services? Contact Harvest Technologies for for a professional consultation.

 

What is the Materials Matrix?

At Harvest Tech, we strive to provide detailed information on our services and materials to our clients. In order to better serve our clients we created a simple Materials Matrix for a close look on the select materials we currently have on inventory and match it with the build processes (stereolithography and laser sintering).

Materials for Stereolithography & Laser Sintering

We created the Materials Matrix as a quick guide to the best materials for these 3D printing processes. Let’s go through a few of our favorite materials for stereolithography and laser sintering.

Stereolithography (SL)

Somos NeXt ®

Somos NeXt ® resin takes on all the aesthetic of thermoplastics, with a higher impact resistance than other SL resins. Somos Next® can produce highly detailed and accurate parts with improved moisture resistance as well. Overall, this material is great for parts and prototypes requiring more strength and durability.

WaterShed® XC 11122

WaterShed® XC 11122  simulates the aesthetic properties of translucent/transparent engineered plastics with exceptional chemical and moisture resistance. This material also displays high dimensional stability. WaterShed® XC 11122 is a nearly colorless material that can be post-processed for either a frosted or clear finish. .

Laser Sintering (LS)

Nylon PA

Nylon PA is a durable nylon 12 material that is best for testing functional prototypes. Featuring low moisture absorption and high chemical resistance, this material has a good surface finish and fulfills autoclave sterilization requirements, making it perfect for medical applications.

Nylon EX

Nylon EX is a nylon 11 material that is impact resistant and operates much like injection-molded polypropylene. This material is great for any parts requiring toughness and high impact resistance. Although Nylon EX provides superior strength, it is still able to produce moderate detail and aesthetic quality on parts. It also provides smooth surface finishing and high dimensional stability. Nylon EX works well for living hinge designs as well.

Now that you got the basics of the Materials Matrix, contact Harvest Technologies for more information regarding our rapid manufacturing services.