Stratasys Ltd. has just unveiled the J55 3D Printer, aiming to make fast, full-colour design realism accessible to designers and teams everywhere.
At about a third the price of enterprise-class PolyJet printers, the J55 combines realism and productivity, including high fidelity and five simultaneously printed materials that enable nearly 500,000 colours, Pantone validation, realistic textures and transparency in one printed part. Set-up is easy, and remote monitoring means print jobs can be managed from home.
“There is no way to validate 2D designs without a realistic 3D model, it’s simply not possible,” says director of innovation and industrial design Tony Guard at Kinetic Vision. The 175-employee company develops products for startups to Fortune 50 companies in industries ranging from consumer electronics and packaged goods to aerospace and medical.
Kinetic Vision has been deemed an “essential business” and has been open through the pandemic, but with few people in the office to get a new technology up and running.
In fact, Guard said they got the J55 set up with a single employee and only remote support from Stratasys. “My jaw dropped when I saw what the machine could do,” he says. “We can validate products faster with form, colour, finish, graphics, everything.
We can offer our clients tangible 3D-printed models that represent a final retail product, faster than we ever could before. I’d love the J55 to be our secret strategic advantage, but I don’t think it will be a secret for long.”
Innovation at every turn
In operation, the Stratasys J55 features a patented rotating build platform with a fixed print head. This is designed to maximise reliability and simplify maintenance. The technology also means greater output from a small footprint while also eliminating most sound – it’s about as quiet as a home refrigerator. Combined with Stratasys ProAero filtration technology for odour-free operation, the J55 is perfect for placing anywhere.
“We developed this innovative new 3D printer to truly transform the product development process for product designers and engineers everywhere,” according to Omer Krieger, executive vice president of products at Stratasys.
“Not only does the J55 fit the budget of virtually any product design team, but the quality of the parts you can 3D print are best in class. It’s so simple that anyone can set it up and use it, and it’s so quiet you’ll forget it’s running,” he adds.
Simplified 3MF workflow with keyShot and SOLIDWORKS
Helping make the J55 easy for designers, Stratasys is also prioritizing simplifying workflow. Fully supported by GrabCAD Print software, the J55 enables a smooth import of common CAD files (e.g. SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, PTC Creo, Siemens NX, Inventor file types) and the latest 3MF file format, a significant improvement over traditional STL, OBJ, and VRML files. And for the first time, Stratasys is also adding support for 3MF color workflow with KeyShot 3D rendering software from Luxion Inc., a capability now in beta and planned for late 2020.
Tim Greene, a research director for 3D printing at global research firm IDC, comments that it’s clear that the product design process needs to change for today’s world, where disruption is always around the corner. “We know that the risk and time involved with traditional prototyping simply doesn’t work anymore, yet there’s no room for compromise on design,” he says.
“Designers can and should do a lot more prototyping in-house, from initial concept modeling to highly realistic final prototypes. It’s just been a matter of bringing enterprise quality to a design shop’s price point and workspace. And now we’re there.”
Built as a smaller but equally capable complement to the Stratasys J8 series for enterprise shops, the J55 supports the full design process with same day send-to-print and minimal post-processing. It provides the same exceptional resolution and detail as J8-series 3D printers, with models matching the shape, material, colour and finish of final products.
Enterprise-quality design realism
The J55 3D printer gives designers full CMF (colour, material, finish) capabilities. It leverages high-performance PolyJet materials, including a full range of textures, transparency with VeroClear (VeroUltraClear availability later in 2020), X-Rite-based colour profiles and Pantone Validated colour – offering a universal language of colour that ensures reliable, realistic decision-making across every stage of the design process.
The J55 3D Printer features a maximum build volume size of 1,340 cubic inches (22 litres) and takes up a mere 4.6 sq. ft. (0.43 m2) of floor space. The five-material capacity (plus support material) means operators can load their most frequently used resins and avoid downtime associated with material changeovers.
The J55 is expected to ship in July 2020 and orders are being taken now. For more information on the power of 3D printed realism for designers and engineers.
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