Since announcing an official partnership with Stratasys in 2017, the MTC has been utilising the latest 3D printing technology to support the manufacturing needs and objectives of customers, which include engineering tooling and complex end-use parts. The Fortus 450mc installation complements the MTC’s existing stable of Stratasys PolyJet solutions, which comprises full-colour, multi-material J-Series 3D printing technology, as well as a large-scale Objet1000.

On behalf of its customers, which include manufacturers across the aerospace, rail and automotive sectors, the MTC conducts test projects that explore the potential of additive manufacturing to overcome the limitations of traditional production processes. The facility is also home to the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing.

Commenting on the investment, which was made via Stratasys’ local partner, Tri-Tech 3D, MTC senior research engineer Hoda Amel, explains: “We’ve been very impressed with our PolyJet 3D printers, and adding an FDM-based solution to the line-up is a natural evolution as we expand our production-grade additive manufacturing capability to develop early stage solutions for UK manufacturers that can then be passed on to the supply chain. Most notably, we now have access to a wide range of high-performance thermoplastic materials, which enables us to explore multi-composite parts and complex tooling for engineering applications that continue to be sought by customers.”

According to Amel, using Stratasys Antero 800NA and ULTEM resin gives the MTC the design freedom to produce highly complex geometries on customer projects, and meet exacting requirements when it comes to high temperatures and chemical exposure. These factors enable the MTC team to test part performance under the extreme challenges and demanding material requirements of customers’ respective industries.

In addition to its role within the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing, the Fortus 450mc will be utilised to improve manufacturing flexibility, and enable the rapid prototyping and replacement of aluminium tooling in the MTC’s robotics and automation department.

Yann Rageul, strategic accounts director at Stratasys, says: “The MTC’s latest investment expands their ability to deliver more value when addressing specific demands across more and more traditional production applications on behalf of those operating at the coal-face of UK manufacturing.”