UltiMaker’s Factor 4: Revolutionizing Industrial 3D Printing

Merging Innovation: Ultimaker and MakerBot

Since their merger in 2022, Ultimaker and MakerBot have seamlessly integrated their operations, creating a comprehensive and complementary ecosystem. MakerBot, known for its strong presence in the non-professional 3D printing market, now represents the joint UltiMaker’s educational product line. Meanwhile, the Ultimaker S5 and S7 continue to serve prosumer needs, and the robust Method XL, originally from MakerBot, targets industrial and engineering applications with its large build volume. This integration includes software solutions like the Ultimaker Cura slicer and the Digital Factory build management platform, ensuring a cohesive user experience.

Introducing the Factor 4: UltiMaker’s Industrial Expansion

UltiMaker’s latest release, the Factor 4, launched at Hannover Messe, marks a significant step into industrial manufacturing. Designed for factory floor use, this 3D printer complements UltiMaker’s existing machines while being robust enough for demanding industrial environments. The Factor 4 bridges the gap between desktop and floor-standing models, making it versatile for both office and factory settings.

Bridging the Gap in Industrial 3D Printing

“The Method XL was our first step into the industrial area,” says Michael Mignatti, VP of central development. “But there was still a gap we needed to solve in validating, developing, and producing more critical components.”

With the Factor 4, UltiMaker targets industrial users who need a reliable 3D printer for producing critical components that keep other processes running smoothly. This machine, though compact, is built to handle the rigors of a machine shop or factory environment.

Meeting Diverse Industrial Needs

“Our portfolio follows the use cases,” says Jim Franz, President, Americas. The Factor 4 responds to customer demand for a machine capable of handling diverse materials and challenging applications, from durable automation tooling to CNC machining fixtures and small runs of end-use parts.

Machining, Automation, and Beyond

UltiMaker’s previous 3D printers have been adopted in automotive, aerospace, defense, and tooling industries. The Factor 4 extends this reach into more demanding applications. Although end-use production parts are among its uses, the primary focus is on manufacturing spare and replacement parts, factory line maintenance, and tooling.

Key Features of the Factor 4

The Factor 4 is not just an evolution but a new standard in industrial 3D printing, with features designed for robustness and flexibility:

  • Actively Controlled Build Chamber: Supports a wide range of materials, including PPS-CF, a carbon-filled material suitable for CNC machining fixtures.
  • Direct-Drive Printhead: Ensures faster, more reliable extrusion, especially for flexible materials like TPU.
  • Closed-Loop Control: A network of sensors monitors material flow and temperature, providing real-time adjustments and process traceability.
  • On-Machine Print Process Reporting: Sensors gather data for traceability, helping identify and address potential issues.
  • Integrated Material Management: A built-in cabinet holds up to six spools of material, supporting two-material printing and allowing for uninterrupted large prints.

A New Era for Factory Floors

“The new factory floor will be far more flexible,” says Michiel Alting von Geusau, CEO. The Factor 4 exemplifies this vision, enabling manufacturers to produce jigs, fixtures, and other tooling on-site, reducing downtime and increasing efficiency. As industries evolve, the Factor 4 positions UltiMaker at the forefront of industrial 3D printing, ready to meet the complex needs of modern manufacturing.

Original source MMS

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