Stratasys Introduces Automated FDM-Based 3D Build System Being Used at FATHOM's Advanced Manufacturing Facility in Oakland, CA
Oakland, California—May 9, 2017 — FATHOM, an advanced manufacturer with an expertise in 3D printing, is leveraging the Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator to push the limits of additive manufacturing. Many customers have adopted 3D printing as a means of production beyond the prototyping phase, and are using proven additive methods like FDM for high-value, end-use applications. Bringing a six-cell 3D printer configuration in-house at FATHOM has increased throughput significantly and enabled a greater volume of FDM parts with shorter lead-times. With the Demonstrator, there is an opportunity to use FDM more effectively for not only a few hundred just-in-time parts, but for 1,000+ parts on-demand.
“This new Demonstrator is enabling us to look to the future where our production center could look like a 3D printing server farm, where there are rows and rows of Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrators,” said Rich Stump, FATHOM’s Co-Founder. “That’s where our minds are going because the FDM-based technology is that good from a design and cost standpoint.”
In its early years, 3D printing was led by rapid prototyping, with its capacity for fast, cost-effective parts. Today, 3D printing has evolved to the point where customization of end-use parts can lead production, and part quantities can be scaled to need, making zero inventory a reality.
“The vision and focus of our business is to change the way products are designed and manufactured, thanks to additive manufacturing (AM),” said Stump. "The fact that 3D printing also allows for greater part complexity, reduced costs, and greater customization is no small factor.”
With a focus on production parts, FATHOM prides itself on its manufacturing ecosystem, a blending of technologies that enable customers to go from concept to prototype to market in a way not previously possible.
FATHOM’s customer base is sometimes hesitant to make the leap to an additive technology for production parts, but those with high-value, low-volume needs are already realizing many benefits from its “sweet spot” of 200-400 parts—the break-even point between 3D printing and tooling up for injection molding.
“Our challenge has been to get that number higher so it’s competitive for low-volume production runs,” said Stump. FATHOM’s early adoption of the Stratasys Continuous Build 3D Demonstrator—a modular, automated FDM-based 3D manufacturing system with interconnected, high-throughput capabilities—is their solution.
“This system is going to enable us to sell higher-volume FDM parts for AM application because it’s going to push the barrier of number of parts we can sell competitively,” said Stump. “Our opportunity here is setting up these modules for 1,000-plus parts, which I’m confident we can get to—even higher. And that’s just comparing apples to apples from a cost standpoint; that’s not even taking into account designing for more function.”
FATHOM is driven by advanced technologies that enhance and accelerate a company’s product development and manufacturing processes. Every day, industry-leading companies leverage FATHOM’s expertise to put satellites into orbit, electric cars on freeways, and a full spectrum of devices into people’s hands and homes. FATHOM’s services focus on prototype fabrication and production parts by way of uniquely blending additive technologies and materials with foundational manufacturing methods—companies go from concept to prototype to market in a way that wasn’t previously possible. This complete offering is supported by a dynamic in-house industrial design and mechanical engineering focused team. FATHOM strives to be its customers’ preferred partner for accelerated product development by providing best-in-class equipment, services, and support. To learn more about FATHOM, visit studiofathom.com.