May 20, 2019
3DQue has launched two systems—an automation upgrade for fused filament fabrication/fused deposition modeling 3D printers and a high volume, production-on-demand unit. The QSuite and QPoD systems enable volume production capabilities that bring plastic parts production in house, reducing costs, increasing operational control and decreasing environmental footprint, 3DQue reports.
Introducing an end-to-end automation upgrade for FFF/FDM plastic 3D printers. QSuite eliminates the need for manual tasks such as job scheduling (and rescheduling), part removal, print bed reset and printer restart, 3DQue reports.
Instead, QSuite uses a suite of hardware and software technologies, to mass produce quality plastic parts. No need for specialized or dedicated operators, QSuite comes complete with fully automated dynamic scheduling that reprioritizes jobs based on changing deadlines or parts, operates 24/7 in a continuous production loop, provides fully autonomous part removal and delivery without the use of tapes, glues or robotics, and gives operators complete control through real-time reporting and management data—all managed remotely so users can do other work while the printer delivers parts.
QSuite capabilities will be available to end users on pay-for-use basis making 3D printing capable of achieving economies of scale. QSuite will be available for license by FFF/FDM 3D printer manufacturers in September 2019.
Additionally, QPod is 3DQue’s 24/7 production-on-demand unit powered by QSuite. QPoD has nine printers in a compact 3x3 array with a total footprint of 10 square feet. In a field trial conducted in January, QPoD printers were able to produce switch cube frames (25x25x25 mm—2.7 grams) at a rate equivalent to 100,000 parts per year translating to a production capacity of more than 8,000 parts/sq. ft. QPoD comes with internal conveyors and collection bins, enabling autonomous fabrication of plastic parts. A limited number of pre-production QPoDs will be available for lease starting July 2019.
Each QPoD production-on-demand unit powered by QSuite comes complete with enclosure, conveyor and parts collection system, control panel, nine printers and automated part delivery. Full production of QPoD commences in January 2020. QSuite is provided to end users on a pay-for-use basis making production costs scalable and affordable. Pre-production units are available for a one-time cost of $45,000 which includes: (1) on-site installation of one QPoD; (2) 5-year QPoD equipment lease; (3) 3,000 print-hours of QSuite software; and (4) 18 months of QSuite software support.
This equates to $0.80 per switch cube frame for the first 3,636 frames ($0.89/frame once the free print-hours have been used) for equipment and software. In our field trial, filament, electricity and rent added another $0.08 for a total unit cost of $0.97/frame.
3D printer manufacturers who want to incorporate QSuite’s automation solution into their next-gen printers can apply for a license starting September 2019.
Visit 3DQue at Rapid + TCT 2019 in Detroit, May 21-23, booth #1765.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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