Additive Manufacturing

SEP 2018

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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Page 33 of 43

SEPTEMBER 2018 Additive Manufacturing FEATURE / Polymer AM for Production 32 By Stephanie Hendrixson Stepping into Production The Technology House was founded on stereolithography for prototyping, but each step forward has been a move toward production. When The Technology House (TTH) launched in 1996, produc- tion manufacturing wasn't part of the plan. Founder and CEO Chip Gear had seen how stereolithography could condense the product development timeline from months down to weeks while working for an appliance manufacturer, and built his own company on the promise of SLA for prototyping. But in the years since, the Streetsboro, Ohio, business has added painting and finishing, injection molding, and even machining through the acquisition of Sea Air Space Machining & Molding. Today The Technology House employs about 60 people at its 50,000-square-foot Streetsboro facility and another 15 at Sea Air Space in Solon, including Gear's three daughters. Lauren Good is vice president of finance and Nicki Gear serves as HR and payroll manager for The Technology House; Tracy Brent is president of Sea Air Space. What was once primarily a proto- typing business now has a broad portfolio of resources. With each step forward, TTH has moved closer and closer to producing end-use parts, first through injection molding and then machining. Now, with the addition of Digital Light Syn- thesis (DLS) printers and auxiliary equipment from Carbon, the Ohio business is leveraging 3D printing not just for prototyping, but for production-scale manufacturing. First Steps with DLS The Technology House first encountered Carbon's 3D print- ing technology in 2014, when Mark Horner, vice president of business development, heard about the company at the AMUG conference that year. Horner was impressed by the speed, part quality and durable materials offered. Before long, The Technol- ogy House committed to beta testing the printers. The Technology House currently has three Carbon M1 print- ers and two M2 printers, which offer twice the build volume of the M1 machines. It is also equipped with a Smart Part Washer from Carbon for automated cleaning, and a meter, mix, dispense (MMD) unit for dispensing resin. Together, the printers, washing unit and MMD form a "SpeedCell" system, a concept of net- worked equipment introduced by Carbon in 2017. The 3D printing technology, Digital Light Synthesis (DLS), is enabled by the Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) process. CLIP is a stereolithography-like process that builds parts onto a platform as it rises from a pool of UV-curable resin. Unlike SLA, however, the print process doesn't pause at each layer. Instead, the resin continuously flows through a "dead zone" just above the oxygen-permeable window where UV images are projected to solidify the part. Once printed, the parts are cleaned, their supports are removed, and then (in most cases) they are cured in an oven before being finished to customer specifications. Production-Ready The Technology House has found a number of characteristics that make DLS suitable for production. They include: Speed. Carbon printers are fast, Nicki Gear, HR and payroll man- ager, Lauren Good, vice president of finance, and Greg Cebular, vice president of sales & management, stand among the line of Carbon M-series 3D printers at The Tech- nology House. The Streetsboro, Ohio, company is a long-time user of stereolithography for prototyp- ing that has recently stepped into 3D printing for production.

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