Following 3D Systems’ announcement of FabPro™ 1000, there has been a steady flow of interest around our take on industrial entry-level 3D printing: where FabPro fits into an additive manufacturing workflow, why we are investing in entry-level solutions, and how 3D Systems’ printer measures up to competing systems on the market. Eager to answer your questions, 3D Systems President and CEO VJ shares his view of the opportunities available through entry-level industrial printing with the new FabPro 1000.
Q: How is FabPro™ 1000 different from other entry-level 3D printers on the market?
VJ: The FabPro is distinct in several ways, but the most important distinction is the parts it prints. The parts are what matters at the end of the day, right? The combination of our printer and materials ensures part quality, repeatability and durability, so that’s the first key distinction. And of course, very closely related to part quality is part accuracy. The FabPro delivers better, more accurate parts than any other product at its price point and produces parts that are on par with production level machines in terms of accuracy, quality and repeatability.
The second differentiation is speed and productivity. FabPro is up to three times faster than competitively priced systems, which will help to make our customers more efficient and accelerate their time to market. Think about it: if it takes a competing system 9 hours to print a part but it takes our system just 3 hours to print a part with the exact same parameters, full days can be removed from product timelines. That’s a tremendous competitive advantage.
Finally, the FabPro is a complete, plug and play solution that includes rigorously tested, high quality materials and an intuitive, optimized software experience with 3D Sprint.
Beyond affordability, what makes this an entry-level 3D printer?
We want to help customers go from a CAD file to design verification or functional prototyping without jumping through hoops or needing extensive training, so we’ve made it very easy to use. Like our other professional quality printers, FabPro comes with 3D Sprint software for file preparation and print management. This gives users access to tools that help them optimize support structures and builds to reduce waste and also provides visibility into material usage. This combination of the fast print speeds I mentioned earlier and optimized printing delivers lower costs to our customers so they can continue to enjoy low operating costs after the initial purchase.
The 3D Systems mission is to help make 3D production real for customers. How does an entry-level industrial printer fit into this strategy?
In order to make 3D production real for our customers, we need to make good quality and easy-to-use additive manufacturing solutions more accessible and affordable to help a wider audience adopt and benefit from the technology. In terms of how the FabPro does this, I will answer in two parts. The first half of my answer takes a look at the product itself. If you think about the product category – an industrial entry-level printer – it plays a very important role in making 3D production real. The FabPro 1000 is a solution with entry-level affordability that comes with industrial material capability and a significant speed advantage over other printers in its class. It also comes with 3D Sprint software to streamline the plastic additive manufacturing workflow, making it a complete solution. That means FabPro offers an opportunity for people to get hands-on with 3D technology for meaningful applications such as functional prototyping. Offering a low-barrier, quality experience that combines the right materials, the right hardware and the right software to compress product lifecycles reinforces how 3D Systems' additive manufacturing solutions can help companies reduce design cycle time and develop complex custom parts not possible with traditional manufacturing processes.
The second half of my answer considers our customers globally, and the different price-performance capabilities and needs that exist worldwide. As a global company, 3D Systems works to serve all markets, including emerging geographies where an entry-level industrial printer like FabPro 1000 offers an optimal price-performance ratio with considerable benefits to the customer.
Who do you anticipate will be first adopters of this machine and why?
I think the global designer community will be among the first to really understand and get excited about the capability being offered, but designers are not the only ones in need of an affordable yet professional-quality 3D printing solution. I think you have to consider other professions where the total package of benefits provided by the FabPro 1000 will make a difference. The combination of the materials we offer plus the high throughput and accuracy of the printer speaks to a wide range of users. If you need high durability functional prototypes, FabPro can do it; if you need high contrast material for prototyping intricate details, FabPro can do it. We also offer a casting material that will enable users to achieve final metal parts with entry-level affordability. This alone has the potential to transform verticals such as jewelry. I believe FabPro will complement and advance workflows across industries, and I am excited to see what our customers do with it!