March 31, 2010

3D Printing Enhancement Reduces Support Material up to 40 Percent for Stratasys FDM Process

New Model Support Style Reduces Material Cost and Build Time

MINNEAPOLIS, Mar 31, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --Additive fabrication system maker, Stratasys(NASDAQ:SSYS), today introduced a new part support style for the FDM process, called SMART Supports.

Part supports are temporary structures used during the modeling or production process to support features such as overhangs. This disposable material is also used to fill clearance space between two moving parts during their creation.

The SMART Supports build style is a standard function that is integral to the Catalyst EX 4.1 or Insight 7.0 software upgrades.

The support style is a method of generating supports that uses less material during the part building process. SMART Supports reduces build time up to 14 percent and lowers material cost by reducing consumption up to 40 percent. It also improves the support removal process for many parts, including reducing material removal time.

SMART Supports are a user-selectable option for all Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems.

To reduce the material used, the SMART Supports function uses a wide spacing between tool-path rasters and changes the shape of the support region. As the supports descend from the underside of the part feature to the base of the supports, the support region shrinks and transforms to a simpler shape to reduce both the material used and the build time. SMART Supports works similar to classic arch design in architecture, in which columns support layers of bricks that get progressively wider, so that the narrow columns can support a structure much wider and heavier at the top.

Stratasys will continue to offer customers a variety of support style choices, including basic, sparse, and surround.

The SMART Supports build style is not available for the Dimension Elite's 0.007 inch (0.178 mm) layer thickness option.

All Stratasys customers currently under warranty or maintenance contracts will receive Smart Supports with their Catalyst EX 4.1 or Insight 7.0 upgrades. For more information, contact your local Stratasys reseller or call 866-721-9244.

Stratasys, Inc., Minneapolis, manufactures additive fabrication machines for prototyping and manufacturing plastic parts under the brands Fortus 3D Production Systems and Dimension 3D Printers. The company also operates RedEye On Demand, an online service for part prototyping and production. According to Wohlers Report 2009, Stratasys supplied 43 percent of all additive fabrication systems installed worldwide in 2008, making it the unit market leader for the seventh consecutive year. Stratasys patented and owns the process known as FDM.® The process creates functional prototypes and manufactured goods directly from any 3D CAD program, using high-performance industrial thermoplastics. The company holds more than 250 granted or pending additive fabrication patents globally. Stratasys products are used in the aerospace, defense, automotive, medical, business & industrial equipment, education, architecture, and consumer-product industries. Online at: www.Stratasys.com

Dimension, a brand of 3D printers by Stratasys, offers computer-aided-design (CAD) users a low-cost, networked alternative for building functional 3D models from the desktop. The printers build models layer-by-layer using ABS plastic, one of the most widely used thermoplastics in today's injection-molded products. Dimension 3D printers allow users to evaluate design concepts and test models for form, fit, and function. Online at: www.DimensionPrinting.com

Fortus is a brand of Stratasys, Inc., formerly known as the FDM Group. Fortus offers a line of 3D production systems used for direct digital manufacturing and precision rapid prototyping. Fortus systems create manufactured goods or prototypes from industrial thermoplastics, including ABS, polycarbonate, PPSF, blends, and ULTEM* 9085. Online at www.Fortus.com

Fortus is a trademark, and Dimension, Stratasys, and FDM are registered trademarks of Stratasys, Inc.

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SOURCE: Stratasys, Inc.

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