‘It Just Makes Sense’ – Prusa Research Introduces Their First Industrial 3D Printer

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Sam Davies

8 July 2024


Prusa Research

Prusa Research founder and CEO Josef Prusa has described the company’s launch of its first industrial 3D printing system as an ‘obvious’ step.

The Prusa Pro HT90 was announced at last year’s Formnext and launched at a media event at the company’s headquarters in Prague last month.

Despite its prior products being targeted at consumers, hobbyists and designers, Prusa Research has installed machines at the likes of Volkswagen, NASA and SpaceX. Those users have implemented Prusa 3D printing systems like the MK3 and MK4 to support product development through the rapid prototyping of design iterations, but have signalled they would be interested in a machine with more advanced capabilities and a broader materials compatibility.

“If you’re asking what was our motivation, it is just plain obvious that with our basic machines, we have so many companies using it and I want to be able to offer something more advanced,” Prusa told TCT. “The companies are very happy with our machines but when we start talking about more industrial materials, they are bummed by the fact they have to go to another company and tool chain.”

With the HT 90 machine, Prusa says customers will be able to do rapid prototype parts using ‘basic polymers’ but with a profile switch and material change, they will also have the capacity to print fixtures, moulds, and end-use components. The machine supports materials such as PEI (Ultem), PEEK, PEKK, PSU, and PPS with its high-temp print head capability and PLA, ASA, PETG, ABS, and PC with its high-flow print head capability. It is also equipped with a cylindrical print area of Ø300 × 400 mm, a heated chamber able to reach 90°C, and a cooling system that provides what Prusa believes is ‘unparalleled’ layer adhesion and print quality. Thanks to these capabilities, the company says, large objects can be printed without warping, poor overhangs, or layer delamination.

Read moreInterview: Josef Prusa on makers, breaking records and avoiding 3D printing hype

Its cooling system is a highlight, according to Prusa. A high-speed flap – for want of a better word – works in tandem with a print fan to deliver improved overhangs. The fan forces air through a tube directly into the print head, while the high-speed flap redirects its flow within milliseconds thanks to a patent-pending low latency cooling technology.

“We have a specially engineered cooling system where if you are printing normal polymers, it gets air to cool down the print from the outside of the machine,” Prusa explained. “But if you are printing a polymer which needs the heated chamber, it switches and the cooling gets the air from the inside. Because the cooling isn’t about getting the print as cool as possible, it’s about getting it when you lay down the heated polymer. You just need to get it to a stage where it’s stable.”

In releasing this machine to market, Prusa not only wants to build on existing relations with the aforementioned high-profile manufacturers, but also facilitate start-ups and small companies by opening up lower volume production applications. The HT 90 comes to market running off the same slicer as its predecessors, but boasts some tweaks to its hardware and firmware that make it more suitable for industrial application.

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Exhibit at the UK’s definitive and most influential 3D printing and additive manufacturing event, TCT 3Sixty.

Because of its penetration into these industrial markets already, Prusa is confident it will be able to build on its existing custom in this world.

“We have thousands and thousands and thousands of MK4s and MK3s at companies like Volkswagen, NASA, SpaceX,” Prusa said. “When we talk to these people, they’re excited we have an offering which is more suited to the size and complexity of their business. And they’re excited that they don’t have to go outside our ecosystem [to get these capabilities]. For us, it really just makes sense to do this.

“My grand vision is to have companies that have each engineer equipped with something like the MK4 for when they prototype, a couple of XLs for the mixed-material printing, and a couple of HT 90s [for production] so we can provide them with everything they need.”

by Sam Davies

8 July 2024




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