Q&A. Water-Removable 3D Inkjet Printing

German company Keyence won the i-NOVO Tech Award 2016 at Hannover Messe for its Agilista-3000 Series high-resolution, 3D inkjet technology printer.

Sven Friedrich, Senior Area Sales Manager 3D-Printer, talked to Directindustry e-magazine about its ease of use and unique features.


DirectIndustry e-magazine: What are the key features of the Agilista 3D Printer?

Sven Friedrich: The Agilista achieves high-resolution printing through inkjet technology. This means it is not just limited to design checks but can also support a wide range of applications, such as assembly capability and functionality checks. It can be installed without any need for construction.

agilista-3100_ws_sr53385_ov_img02The water-soluble support material is easy to remove simply by soaking models in water. Furthermore, the printing material is temperature resistant up to 100 deg C.

DirectIndustry e-magazine: How does it work?

Sven Friedrich: Four printing heads with small nozzles apply drops of a liquid resin layer by layer on to a printing plate. The printing head moves in the x- and y- direction while the printing plate moves the z-direction. The printing unit is equipped with a UV lamp that directly cures the single layers.

Both materials (model and support material) are applied at the same time, the software automatically calculates the necessary support structures. After the printing process has finished the model does not need any post treatment and the support material can be removed simply by putting the model into water.

DirectIndustry e-magazine: How did you come up with the concept for the product?

Sven Friedrich: The R&D department at Keyence was using 3D printers of former generations from other suppliers to develop their own products. Soon the engineers realized that their requirements could not be fulfilled with these machines. Model accuracy and the ease of handling of the printer had to be improved.

DirectIndustry e-magazine: What differentiates it from other 3D printers?

agilista-3100_ws_sr53385_ov_img03Sven Friedrich: It can be operated from any workplace through simple computer software, and can be integrated into a company network without the need for a separate computer.

Keyence is the only company that offers the fully water removable support material for inkjet technology. Other products need chemical additives or heat to remove the support material.

The model material is waterproof so printed models can be used in water or in a moist environment. Our printing material for a permanent resistance of 100 deg C temperature is the only one currently on the market for inkjet technology.

Video displaying Keyence Agilista 3D-Printer (in German)

About the Author

Abigail Saltmarsh is a freelance journalist with 25 years’ experience for industry publications (Packaging Europe) and national magazines (The New York Times, International Herald Tribune).

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