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News

Largest Prototyping Service in Europe adds FDM

Materialise NV : 19 December, 2003  (Company News)
European leader in rapid prototyping services, Materialise, continuously improves the techniques and materials to tune prototyping solutions to the client's specific desires.
What started with stereolithography in 1990 developed into a whole range of techniques through which functional prototypes in plastics or metal are being produced. Being aware of the growing demand for functional models and small series of production parts, Materialise has been improving its current technologies and has decided to expand these techniques. Because Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) is one of the leading Rapid Prototyping techniques, adding this service was the obvious next step. Stratasys INC. is patent holder of the Fused Deposition Modelling technology. From now on Materialise is ready to offer FDM parts, starting with a capacity of one FDM machine and expanding in 2004. The FDM area will be a separate part of the facility known as The FDM Center at Materialise.

Materialise and FDM
Materialise considers FDM's material properties as one of its greatest strengths. FDM builds models from the real engineering thermoplastics ABS, Polycarbonate and PPSU. Because most end products are made from these materials, their properties closely match those of many end products. An ABS prototype has up to 80% of the strength of injected moulded ABS, meaning that it is extremely suitable for functional applications. Polycarbonate and PPSF are even much tougher materials than ABS. PPSU, for example, has resistance to petrols and chemicals, so it is possible to carry out tests with brake fluid and fuel with the first prototypes. This was previously restricted to moulded parts. The great advantage of this technique is the durability of the material used, the stability of the mechanical properties over time and the quality of the part. FDM products also offer new possibilities for direct printing of small production series.

Materialise aims at staying the largest provider of plastic prototypes. It offers the widest range of technologies and largest capacity to support its customers in their product development process. FDM is therefore a welcome addition to the Materialise rapid prototyping service.
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