Intermountain 3D and Idaho Steel Announce Installatio
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lynn Hoffmann
align=”center”>Intermountain 3D and Idaho Steel Announce Installation of Production SLS 3D Printer
align=”center”>First of its kind printer in Idaho brings new manufacturing capability to Idaho Steel
Idaho Falls, ID, (September 9, 2015)—Idaho Steel, a manufacturer of food processing equipment, has embraced 3D printing with the purchase of a 3D Systems Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine. Food-forming pistons are produced on the 3D printer from a food-grade nylon and integrated into production equipment sold to customers around the world. “3D printing has allowed us to develop new products and get them to market in a fraction of the time it took using traditional machining,” says Alan Bradshaw, company co-CEO. “We’re already thinking of other ways to use this technology with new applications.”
Like other additive manufacturing printers, the 3D Systems ProX 500 SLS printer builds products layer by layer. The highly precise SLS process uses a laser to fuse particles of plastic, glass, ceramic or metal. The laser traces the pattern of each cross-section of the 3D design onto a bed of powder. After one layer is built, the bed lowers and another layer is built on top of the existing layers. The bed then continues to lower until every layer is built and the part is complete.
Intermountain 3D, Inc., the authorized reseller of 3D Systems products for Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, worked with Idaho Steel as they made the decision to commit to additive manufacturing. “Idaho Steel came to us with an interesting problem,” said Brian Hoffmann, company president. “They needed a certified food-safe material as durable as the rest of the machine that is made from high-strength plastics and stainless-steel. And they required a process that produces quality parts faster and less expensively than their current manufacturing process. This SLS machine delivers on all of those needs.”
Manufacturers around the country are integrating 3D printing into their production processes as Idaho Steel is doing, but 3D printing is more commonly used for prototyping to test form, fit and function. There are some commercial-grade 3D printers in Idaho, but likely less than a dozen in the whole state, Hoffmann estimates. Additive manufacturing can deliver high quality parts with no geometry limitations–you can print virtually whatever is designed in a 3D file–making it especially attractive for complex parts or designs that are evolving. “More and more manufacturers and entrepreneurs are seeing the advantages of printing prototypes of their designs before going to injection molding or metal fabricators” said Hoffmann, whose company also offers a service bureau to 3D print parts for customers.
“This is an exciting time for manufacturers in Idaho,” says Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce. “Idaho has the workforce, the infrastructure and statewide support for manufacturers. Having local 3D printing capabilities is just one more benefit to manufacturers in our state.”
Intermountain 3D and Idaho Steel are co-hosting an open house in celebration of National Manufacturing Day on October 2 from 10am-12pm at the Idaho Steel facility. Mayor Rebecca Caspar will speak on the value of manufacturing in eastern Idaho at 10am, followed by a printer demonstration and an opportunity to sample McDonald’s hash brown patties and Tator Tots, now being formed with the use of 3D printed pistons. Media and the public are invited. For more information, contact Lynn Hoffmann at 208.391.5570.
Idaho Steel has been in business since 1918 and our custom craftsmen have built and installed state of the art processing equipment in food processing factories all over the world. More information at www.idahosteel.com or by calling 208.522.1275.
Intermountain 3D, Inc. is an authorized reseller for 3D Systems, Inc. and a service bureau for parts production and manufacture. More information at www.intermountain3d.com or by calling 208.391.5570.