Stratasys recently announced a secured contract of their largest government project to-date. The U.S. Navy has created a $20 million agreement for the procurement of 25 Stratasys F900 3D Printers. These machines are one of the largest and most impressive FDM 3D printers on the market today. With one of the largest build platforms (at 36 x 24 x 36in.) and the widest range of thermoplastics to choose from, it is no wonder this machine comes in at a whopping $500k MSRP. This contract also includes printing materials, operator training and technical support and sustainment for the machines to keep them running for years to come.
Stratasys is well known for high quality materials, superior part accuracy and machine reliability. Although there may be other comparably large build platforms available from rivaling companies, Stratasys offers an all-around package deal that can’t be matched. Many of the desirable thermoplastics used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) are proprietary to Stratasys. Some of the more rugged, engineering grade plastics include PC, PC-ABS and Nylon 12; these materials offer higher strength tolerances. Ultem 1010 and ultem 9085 are two of the strongest plastics on the market. Only available on a few of the Stratasys printers, ultem plastics have the highest heat and chemical tolerances as compared to other similar thermoplastics. Especially helpful for end-use parts in aircraft and aerospace applications, ultem plastics can be a major selling point for the higher-end Stratasys FDM machines.
Stratasys expects delivery of the first eight machines by the end of 2021. Complete fulfillment of the order will take place over the next five years. The U.S. DoD explains how additive manufacturing will significantly impact innovation and efficiency for many years to come. The term, digital manufacturing, has been coined to explain the rapid growth of different manufacturing processes through the use of new technologies; and 3D printing is arguably on the forefront of this digital manufacturing revolution.