UnionTech has long been on a mission to make stereolithography a more affordable technology. In keeping with this objective, they have released the PILOT industrial printer. While the printer itself is available for just under 100,000 Euros, it is relatively affordable for an industrial machine. UnionTech have stated that the PILOT series’ price does not compromise the quality of the their printers.
PILOT provides users with a full range of 21st century materials for high quality printing. PILOT 250 and PILOT 450 (platform size ranging from 250 mm x 250mm x 250 mm to 450mm x 450mm x 400mm). The series features an 800mW 355 nanometer laser allowing this equipment to utilize all industrial grade SLA photopolymers. Both machines can achieve a minimum layer thickness of 0.05 mm with scanning speeds going up to 12 mm/s.
Similar to the RSPro production series, it features key components from globally recognized suppliers including Spectra-Physics, American Optowave, SCANLAB and Panasonic. Robust construction details include a granite recoater frame, closed loop control of key operating parameters, pump fed refill capability, and a high efficiency vacuum recoating system.
UnionTech & Promoting Stereolithography
The Polydevs software for parts preparation is a large part of UnionTech’s new pricing strategy. Keeping with UnionTech’s philosophy of open design for software and materials, PILOT series users can also opt-in for Materialise Magics part preparation software, in place of Polydevs.
Decreasing the price of SLA technologies plays a large role in increasing their adoption in 3D printing. While UnionTech believes that the technology can be more economical, they also believe in its potential for quality. Stereolithography does provide users with a level of part quality with high resolution and smooth surfaces.
There is still quite some time before industrial SLA technology will be cheap enough for it usage to rival FDM. However, the first step is always for companies to step forward and innovate with cheaper (and often open designs). UnionTech is helping speed up this progression.