Mosaic has made a name for themselves in the multi-color 3D printing world with their popular Palette system, a sophisticated device that turns any FDM desktop 3D printer into a multi-color 3D printer. And while Mosaic has just released an updated version of that product, the Palette 3, that can print four materials (or eight with the Pro model), they’ve also released a different kind of multi-material product. The Array is a factory in a cabinet, a totally automated system that continuously manages four industrial printers.
With the launch of the Array, automated 3D printing is becoming more accessible. I’m referring more to ease of use than cost, though the cost is quite good when compared to the competition, and it’s well within the means of most small to medium-sized businesses. The Array is a fully-contained 3D printing system that loads and unloads materials for its four Element HT printers, starts prints, and removes prints and stores them so that the next prints can begin. It does all of those things automatically. Everything is controlled seamlessly through their Canvas software that lets the user easily select print materials and set print queues, and the Array handles the rest.
With a 32-pod material bay that can include industrial materials like PEEK and PEI, and the ability to print with up to eight materials in one print with the Palette X, the Array is clearly designed for maximum flexibility. And the vending machine-style robotic arm that removes prints, places them to the side, and loads a clean bed for the next print ensures maximum output. That’s where the real value of the Array is, in continuous uptime.
Uptime Is Money
I can say from experience, the more printers you have, the harder it is to have them all printing. Prints often finish at night, and sometimes I’m out when a print finishes, and sometimes two prints finish at the same time and I can only clear and restart one at a time, and then there are the times when I forget that I was letting a print cool and it sits there idle for hours before I remember. The Array would prevent 100% of that downtime, especially that last one.
The only human interaction that’s needed is to load the material pods, remove the prints from the storage area, and put clean beds back in after taking the prints off. The storage shelving system is rather innovative in that it utilizes as much space as possible by spacing the completed prints based on how tall they are. Each Element HT has a heated build volume of 14” x 14” x 14” and a 500°C extruder, meaning it is truly an industrial machine. So it’s kind of crazy that Mosaic is also offering an Array Production, a scalable version that connects multiple Arrays to print thousands of parts a day. That’s some serious output.
At $59,999, the Array (including 4 Element HT’s) is a bargain. The standalone PEEK-capable Element HT is $9,999, which is already a good price for an HT industrial printer, so you’re essentially paying about $20,000 for a robot to manage your four-machine print farm, and that’s less than a year’s pay for one employee. I think a lot of production managers are going to like that math..
You can learn more about the Array and Element on Mosaic’s website or watch the video below.