What’s the Biggest Industrial 3D Printing Equipment Available?
As 3D printing transitions from an amusing hobby to serious business, the equipment used for the process is getting bigger and bigger with each passing year. All this growth in the size and capacity of 3D printing equipment is necessary for it to become truly useful within the industrial and manufacturing world. Small components are easily printed by existing 3D printing equipment, but only the cutting-edge equipment being developed right now can print an entire airplane frame or construct entire buildings with a seamless approach.
Exploring the biggest 3D printing units currently in use or coming out soon will give you a good idea of when you’ll be able to integrate this technology into your manufacturing processes.
Infinite 3D Printing Build Volume: Infinite-Build and D-Shape
For sheer size and record-setting production in the 3D printing field, there are at least two pieces of equipment with a theoretically unlimited size and volume capability. This is due to the use of freely mounted 3D printing heads that move along tracks that are easily reassembled to keep building until a structure is done.
Both of the most flexible and biggest 3D printing units, the Infinite-Build from Stratasys and the D-Shape from Monolite UK, are not commercially available quite yet. The Infinite-Build produces thermoplastic parts using the Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printing method, while the D-Shape uses the advanced Binder Jetting 3D printing process. Stratasys is just starting to consider commercial applications for their unit, and Monolite UK is primarily using the D-Shape for research purposes through contracts with the European Space Agency.
Metal and Industrial 3D Printing: Titomic, EBAM 300
Metal 3D printing is the additive manufacturing process that is most valuable to the widest range of different clients and producers. To craft aircraft and automobile frames, large scale engine and transmission parts, and other similar heavy-duty equipment, you need the biggest metal 3D printing equipment money can buy. There are now multiple competitors for the title of the biggest metal 3D printing unit, with some winning on dimensional capacities while others offer greater total volume.
For the biggest total build area, the Kinentic Fusion printer from Australia’s Titomic is the winner. The build area is 9 meters long, 1.5 meters high, and 3 meters wide. It’s even possible to expand this 3D printing area by setting up a larger build chamber with additional supports. For now, the printer is still in the research and development phase, but it may be available for commercial use soon for companies interested in expanding their 3D printing capabilities.
When you only consider 3D printing equipment that is widely available and ready to order for commercial use, the EBAM 300 from Sciaky takes the highest honor. It’s been used to produce metal parts of over 3 meters in length, and it boasts a maximum build area of 5.7 meters long, 1.2 meters high, and 1.2 meters wide. It prints a wide variety of alloys like titanium and niobium, expanding the options for both prototyping and final manufacturing through the same 3D printing equipment.
Ceramic Resin 3D Printing: ProMaker V6000
Ceramic is a highly flexible material used widely for medical equipment, electronic insulators, and jewelry design. While options for 3D printing ceramics were once limited, the arrival of industrial grade 3D printing tools like the ProMaker V6000 from Prodways is shaking up the market. This 3D printing unit uses resins that eventually cure, through sinterization, into a finished product that is up to 99 percent ceramic in content. Other ceramic resin 3D printing units are available, but none of them compare to the build area of the ProMaker V6000, which is 120 mm tall, up to 500 mm long, and 150 mm wide.
Concrete and Structural 3D Printing: Winsun
Finally, some of the world’s biggest 3D printing units are large scale designs used for printing concrete to form strong structures at a much faster pace than manual construction. The Winsun 3D printing unit is a gigantic concrete deposition printer with a build volume of 86,000 cubic feet. This 3D printing equipment can work on a maximum build size of 40 meters long by 10 meters wide by 6 meters tall.
With a 3D printing volume like that, each Winsun 3D printing unit can construct multiple rooms, hallways, and other architectural features. It’s currently only used for private 3D printing purposes for the Chinese company that designed it.
Some of these 3D printing record setters are available today for adapting to your specific manufacturing uses. Explore your 3D printing subcontracting options by searching our database here at the European Subcontracting Network.