Ion Core, the UK manufacturer of the Zinter line of desktop 3D printers, is set to supply their Zinter PRO Desktop 3D Printers to aerospace and defense manufacturing pioneers the Airbus Group.
Ion Core says the Zinter PRO is an upgraded version of the firm's consumer-focused model. At around $3900, the machine features dual all-metal extruders capable of printing a variety of materials at high operating temperatures. Ion Core says it was that versatility which led Airbus to choose their offering.
Featuring a build volume of 200mm x 200mm x 200mm, the PRO is capable of printing Z layer thicknesses of 100 to 300 microns.
The units will be handed over to the Airbus design and innovation department for implementation in testing and prototyping.
"We are of course delighted Airbus has chosen the Zinter PRO, it really goes to show our 11 year history in robotics and CNC machine manufacturing is putting us way ahead of our competitors, many of whom have no experience producing products of this nature. And we are now in the process of ramping up Zinter PRO production off the back of some major orders from key distributors and companies such as Airbus Group," said James Marchant, the CEO of Ion Core.
Researchers began using 3D printers to produce prototype parts for wind-tunnel testing at the group's EADS Innovation Works, the research arm of EADS, a European defense and aerospace group best known for building Airbuses. Prototypes, which had tended to be very expensive, were instead made as one-offs by 3D printers. Airbus says prototyping with 3D printing requires only 10% of the raw material which would otherwise be needed by conventional processes and adds that the technology uses less energy than conventional factory methods.
As a result of the order, Marchant said Ion Core is ramping up their UK manufacturing facilities, joining two separate 1500 square foot factories into a single 5000 square foot building and shifting their operations to consolidate design, manufacture, sales, and technical support teams into a single facility.