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Photo Release -- 3D Systems Ships Over Two Dozen Direct Metal 3D Printers To Redefine Tire Design And Manufacturing

  • 3D printed metal tire tread molds revolutionize the transportation and automotive industry through higher performance and improved safety
  • Adoption of direct metal 3D printers accelerates innovation of highly complex, 3-dimensional tire patterns and molds for manufacturing

ROCK HILL, S.C., April 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced today that, over the past several periods, it has shipped over two dozen of its ProX TM Series Direct Metal printers to leading automotive tire manufacturers driving significant innovation in the development and manufacturing of highly complex tread molds. With the ProX series, the most intricate tread designs, that are simply not possible with traditional processes, can easily and quickly be printed as production tools for the manufacturing of tires that set new benchmarks in performance and safety.
Tread Mold
A section of tread mold created for the tire industry using high-strength managing steel 1.2709, printed on a 3D Systems ProX 300 3D Printer. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

A photo accompanying this release is available at Historically, tire manufacturers depended upon traditional metal castings that required significant lead-time and cost to produce even a simple tread pattern or to develop new tire tread geometries. With 3D metal printing, highly complex tread segments can be designed, tested and rapidly produced on a DMP printer. Changes can be made quickly for re-testing before going into mass production. Tire sipes, the tiny slits within a tire's thread, can improve traction on wet surfaces, but if placed incorrectly, can worsen dry surface driving stability. Sipes represent one important design element of the many features that tire manufacturers constantly seek to balance in order to achieve certain performance targets, resulting in a wide variety of tread options and corresponding tire molds that the ProX 300 makes instantly possible. The use of 3D direct metal printers in this high volume design and manufacturing application cuts production time dramatically and enables new and complex, performance focused tread design geometries which provide improved breaking, road performance and overall safety. The ability to provide precision part performance in fully dense and chemically pure metals establishes the ProX series as the must-have benchmark in tire manufacturing.

The ProX Direct Metal 3D printers are designed for the most demanding production applications requiring functional, fully dense metal parts with the performance, productivity and precision that rivals CNC. 3DS' direct metal printers deliver tire molds with the thinnest walls, sharpest edges, and most complex internal venting and details with a smooth surface finish that is unmatched by any competitive offering or traditional manufacturing processes. 3DS' ProX series also offers a choice of up to 15 metals including tool steel, stainless steel, super alloys, non-ferrous alloys, precious metals and alumina.

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