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Printing In True Color

June 10, 2020
Latest Stratasys printer provides attractive tools to design community.

Stratasys Ltd. recently introduced its J55 3D Printer. At about a third the price of enterprise-class PolyJet printers, the J55 combines realism and productivity, including high fidelity and five simultaneously printed materials that enable nearly 500,000 colors, Pantone Validation, realistic textures, and transparency in one printed part.

“The real excitement is around how it's going to minimize the development design process. What often happens on our end is we develop a product digitally, and historically we have printed it out in a single material before doing multiple steps to get the product basically the finish level with the right color and artwork,” says Jim Topich, senior vice president at Kinetic Vision tells IndustryWeek. The Cincinnati, OH-based company who develops products for startups to Fortune 50 companies in industries ranging from consumer electronics and packaged goods to aerospace and medical served as one of the beta users of the J55 printer. “The J55 provides us with the ability to deliver design concepts five times faster, and at a significantly lower cost than if we used traditional prototyping routes and methods.”

Understandably, at Kinetic Vision, time is one of its most precious resources. As such, the quicker design teams are able to take models off the printer and place them into stakeholder reviewers' hands quicker for validation and verification, the better. “This is crucial because it enables better feedback leading to faster development processes. As much as people have embraced seeing something on the screen or renderings of a product, it does not replace being able to hold it your hand before officially signing off on development," says Topich. "The faster you can do that the more you can improve the project time cycle."

There is an accessibility factor with the J55, explains Gina Scala Director of Marketing at Stratasys. “We have taken the quality of our large machines and brought it to a more accessible package to sit next to the industrial designers enabling them work quicker. The J55 also got a filtration system that allows it to sit wherever it needs to sit in their environment. We're working on an integration with KeyShot where within a few clicks designers will be able to go from a rendering straight through to a 3d print using the 3MFfile format. This is all about designing a product for those designers.”

Helping make the J55 easy for designers, Stratasys is also prioritizing simplifying workflow. Fully supported by GrabCAD Print software, the J55 enables a smooth import of common CAD files (e.g. SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, PTC Creo, Siemens NX, Inventor file types) and the latest 3MF file format, a significant improvement over traditional STL, OBJ, and VRML files.

Built as a smaller, but equally capable, complement to the Stratasys J8 series for enterprise shops, the J55 supports the full design process with same day send-to-print and minimal post-processing. It provides the same exceptional resolution and detail as J8-series 3D printers, with models matching the shape, material, color and finish of final products.

The J55 3D printer gives designers full CMF (color, material, finish) capabilities. It leverages high-performance PolyJet materials, including a full range of textures, transparency with VeroClear (VeroUltraClear availability later in 2020), X-Rite-based color profiles and PANTONE Validated color - offering a universal language of color that ensures reliable, realistic decision- making across every stage of the design process.

The J55 3D Printer features a maximum build volume size of 1,340 cubic inches (22 liters) and takes up a mere 4.6 sq. ft. (.43 m2) of floor space. The five-material capacity (plus support material) means operators can load their most frequently used resins and avoid downtime associated with material changeovers.