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The Stratasys Fortus 450mc Industrial 3D Printer

By <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/rich-annino/" target="_self">Rich Annino</a>

By Rich Annino

Posted on October 6, 2023

In the rapidly advancing realm of 3D printing, where technological breakthroughs seem almost commonplace, choosing the right industrial 3D printer for your needs can be a complex and crucial decision.

However, amidst the countless options available, the Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D printer emerges as an undisputed leader in the domain of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). In today’s blog, we will take an in-depth look at why the Stratasys 450mc rightfully claims its place as the best Industrial FDM 3D printer on the market today.

Fortus 450mc: Precision and Accuracy

When we talk about the Stratasys 450mc’s precision and accuracy, it’s essential to delve deeper into the mechanics that underlie its exceptional performance. While layer resolution is often discussed as a key factor, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Print Head Technology

The Stratasys 450mc achieves its remarkable precision through a combination of factors. Firstly, its print head technology is designed to extrude filament with incredibly fine control. This means that each layer of material is deposited with an accuracy that rivals those that you would expect from typical machining standards; +-.005” on the X and Y dimensions, and +- 1 slice on the Z axis. This level of control is especially important in industries where tolerances are exceptionally tight, such as aerospace and automotive.

In the aerospace sector, precision is paramount. Aircraft components must adhere to stringent specifications to ensure safety and reliability. The Stratasys 450mc empowers engineers in this industry to create parts that meet these exacting standards. Whether it’s intricate ductwork or structural components, the printer’s precision ensures that each piece fits perfectly, reducing the risk of assembly errors and expanding design capabilities in flight-ready thermoplastics such as Ultem 9085.

Fortus 450 carbon fiber

Fortus 450 carbon fiber

Precision Details

The Stratasys 450mc’s unparalleled precision plays a pivotal role in transforming the automotive industry. In this fast-paced sector, where every detail matters, the 450mc’s ability to produce components with micro-level accuracy is a game-changer. Whether it’s crafting intricate engine parts, optimizing aerodynamic designs, or fine-tuning vehicle interiors, the printer ensures that each component fits seamlessly and functions flawlessly. This precision-driven approach not only accelerates the prototyping process but also enhances the overall quality and performance of automotive components. As a result, manufacturers can swiftly iterate designs, reduce production timelines, and stay at the forefront of automotive innovation while maintaining the highest standards of quality and precision.

Industrial 3D Printer Speed and Efficiency

In today’s fast-paced manufacturing landscape, speed and efficiency are often the linchpins of success. The Stratasys 450mc 3D printer excels in both these critical aspects, and understanding the technology behind its swiftness is essential to fully appreciate its significance. While many of the systems on the market stress ultra-fine layer height printing using FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication), which is at its heart a type of FDM printing, the Stratasys Fortus 450mc can print many materials just as fine if needed, but also at the more economical and stronger .010” and .013” layer heights. Having this flexibility of layer resolutions allows the 450mc to potentially offer some of the fastest print times on the market, all while achieving precision accuracy!

Iterate Faster

Consider again the automotive industry, where design agility and rapid prototyping are paramount. With the Stratasys 450mc, automotive manufacturers can swiftly iterate designs, produce prototypes, and even create functional components in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional manufacturing methods. This speed-to-market advantage positions companies to stay competitive in an industry where consumer preferences evolve rapidly.

When looking at speed in the Automotive space, my mind immediately goes to racing, and there’s no better example of how the Fortus 450mc is speeding up innovation in automotive than with Joe Gibbs Racing; check out this fantastic case study!

Furthermore, this printer’s efficiency extends to material usage. Its intelligent design minimizes material waste, for a significant cost-saving factor. In industries where materials need to be light and capable, but are also extremely expensive in limited supply, such as space exploration, the Stratasys 450mc’s efficiency becomes even more critical. It enables engineers to be more resource-efficient while working on projects that push the boundaries of human exploration.

 

Fortus 450mc: Materials Versatility

Materials versatility is another standout feature of the Stratasys 450mc. While some 3D printers are limited to a select few specific materials or conversely, promise the world of materials with no proof that they’ll work, the Fortus 450mc printer is incredibly adaptable, accommodating a wide range of materials, from engineering grade thermoplastics like Polycarbonate and PC-ABS to High Performance materials like ULTEM 9085, ULTEM 1010, and 35% Chopped Carbon Filled Nylon 12CF.

Fortus 450mc

Advanced Preferred Materials

The aerospace industry, which often utilizes cutting-edge materials to meet performance requirements, particularly benefits from this versatility. Engineers can experiment with advanced materials that offer exceptional strength-to-weight ratios, making them ideal for aircraft components. The Stratasys 450mc enables the rapid production of prototypes and functional parts using these materials, but also excels in the areas of providing parts that can be used for production support (manufacturing jigs and assembly fixtures to name a few) and can also produce flight ready parts using our Ultem 9085 CG filament that has a UL94 V0 Blue card!

>>Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group Case Study<<

Validated and Open Materials

While our top materials, which have been subject to extreme testing and parameter configuring to ensure that they print fantastic build after build, we have two new categories of materials that the Fortus 450mc is ALSO capable of running: Validated Materials and Open Materials.

  • Validated Materials are a group of semi-tested filaments that Stratasys feels safely print on the Fortus 450mc, but have not yet been subjected to the flurry of experiments that the “Preferred” family of filaments is put through. Making these materials available to users in the field offers you the opportunity to explore incredible new material capabilities on the same, great, reliable Fortus 450mc, without having to lean on a less capable piece of equipment to try and make parts in similar materials, and at a much faster pace that Stratasys is typically known for releasing new materials at.
  • Open Materials are just that; Open. The OpenAM Software, and associated hardware upgrades to the Fortus 450mc, enable you to both utilize 3rd party filaments from OTHER material manufacturers that potentially fit very niche applications that our more common filaments are targeted for, and also gives you full control over how the printer runs those materials!

To learn more about Validated Materials and the Open Materials, watch the on-demand webinar below:

Fortus 450mc: Reliability and Durability

Reliability and durability are not mere conveniences, but absolute necessities in an industrial setting. The Stratasys 450mc 3D printer shines in both these aspects, assuring continuous operation and long-term productivity. Picture your manufacturing facility, where 3D printing has become a pivotal part in producing critical components; in such an environment, downtime due to equipment failure can translate into significant financial losses and missed deadlines. That the Stratasys 450mc minimizes these risks through its robust construction and meticulous engineering, as it’s designed to be a true industrial manufacturing asset, not just a 3D printer.

Fortus 450 production parts

Environmental Sustainability through Longevity

Moreover, the durability of the Fortus 450mc aligns perfectly with a growing emphasis on environmental sustainability. In a world increasingly concerned about ecological impacts, choosing a machine that won’t be outclassed any time soon by a newcomer to the market, and is built with components that ensure that it lasts longer and requires minimal upkeep is not just a wise business decision, but also a responsible environmental choice. Less waste is generated during the production process, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future, and the same goes for the printer itself, not just the parts that it produces day in and day out.

Furthermore, the Stratasys 450mc is designed with maintenance in mind. It includes features that make routine upkeep straightforward, reducing the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns and streamlining the overall maintenance process. This proactive approach to reliability sets it apart as an extremely dependable workhorse.

Cutting-Edge Living Software

Our final aspect that sets the Stratasys Fortus 450mc apart is how it utilizes some of the most powerful software’s available amongst all industrial 3D Printers, designed by Stratasys’s own GrabCAD Print software development team. While hardware is undoubtedly a critical piece to the puzzle, the software and user interface are equally crucial components of what makes the Fortus 450mc such a successful platform.

GrabCAD Print

The basic software used in conjunction with the Stratasys 450mc, GrabCAD Print, plays a pivotal role in streamlining the 3D printing process. It encompasses everything from model preparation to printing management, with advanced tools that optimize workflows and enhance efficiency. This means that even complex, multi-part projects can be managed seamlessly.

The best part is that GrabCAD Print is a living software, meaning it sees updates with new features all of the time. Wish a feature existed? Send feedback to the GrabCAD Print team, and they’ll likely look into working on and implementing that request in the future!

GrabCAD Workstation 3D Printing File Formats

GrabCAD Workstation

Insight Software

Taking part setup to the next level, the Fortus 450mc can also utilize Insight, which is a powerhouse of it’s own, giving users the capability of editing every single aspect of every single slice of a build. Not just that, but it even gives you the ability to control every single bead of filament that it will lay down during the printing process! If you need extreme precision setup of your models, Insight is at your fingertips with the Fortus 450mc, and if you’re not confident in how to utilize the Insight software my team here at TriMech can certainly teach you how through our Advanced FDM Operator Training Course.

GrabCAD Print Pro

Now, adding one more level of capabilities to the Fortus 450mc’s list of powerful part setup and manipulation tools is GrabCAD Print Pro! This new, add-on suite of features to the base level of GrabCAD Print, offers incredible capabilities such as part labeling, achieving estimates for all parts on a build (single estimate, each individual part’s material usage), quick 3D array’s, Printing Templates, Thin Wall Analysis, and more!  To learn more about GrabCAD Print Pro, check out my recent demonstration of it here:

Conclusion

In a world where 3D printing technology continues to evolve at an astonishing pace, the Stratasys 450mc 3D printer remains an unassailable pioneer. Its exceptional precision, speed, materials versatility, reliability, and cutting-edge software place it at the forefront of FDM 3D printing and Industrial Additive Manufacturing as a whole.

Investing in the Stratasys 450mc isn’t merely an investment in today’s capabilities; it’s a forward-looking decision. With this powerful tool at your disposal, your business is poised to explore new horizons in design and manufacturing, maintain a competitive edge in your industry, and drive innovation. Embrace the future of 3D printing with the Stratasys 450mc and experience the transformative potential it has to offer.

Article by <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/rich-annino/" target="_self">Rich Annino</a>

Article by Rich Annino

Rich Annino is an Additive Manufacturing Solutions Consultant from TriMech