Zhuhai CTC Electronic Co. has rapidly grown of a developer of 2D printing equipment to FDM 3D printing equipment to a producer of a wide variety of 3D printing technologies. With the opening of a sizeable-scale factory and an office in London, the Chinese company appears to have its eyes set on bringing over the industry with its inexpensive
3D printing equipment. Now, CTC is next up its 4-in-1 hybrid machine and inexpensive
SLA printing device with their initially industrial machine, the Riverbase 500.
CTC Riverbase 500 (PRNewsFoto/Zhuhai CTC Electronic Co., Ltd)
The $86,000 Riverbase 500 is an industrial SLA machine that relies on laser galvanometer scanning, the same process that most SLA and SLS machines use, in that a mirror bounces the laser onto the print area instead of relying on movement by the laser itself. Theirs is a F-THETA-LEN galvanometer with a spot diameter of 0.10-0.16mm and scanning speed of 6 to 12 m/s. The ND:YVO4, 355 nm laser on this machine can reach 300MW-500MW to turn it into objects as sizeable as 500mm(X)×400mm(Y)x300mm(Z). The Riverbase 500 is created with high precision-screw rails and has a negative pressure-and-absorption-based process for uniform prints. Other showcases include automated scanning path optimization, automated liquid level control, and, they suggest, the ability to 3D print continuously while unattended.
CTC cites data of market research firm IDC saying that 70% of 3D printing device sales are created up of industrial processs and applications, adding that SLA machines account for 50% of industrial printing equipment of the world and 60% in China. For that reason, the firm created their own industrial SLA machine. This decision to get into the industrial market mirrors XYZprinting, in Taiwan, that has in addition expanded of entry-level machines to industrial 3D printing equipment. And, in most ways, the two companies have followed much like paths. For instance, rumors floated around last year that CTC may release a full-color 3D printing device at CES this year. But I believe that rumor was not accomplished, XYZprinting did manufacture known their own work on a full-color industrial machine, complementing an inkjet industrial printing device they’d may already released.
With companies like XYZ and CTC jumping into the industrial market, it’s not only computer desktop players that can have to store an eye out for additional inexpensive
competitors. Established industrial firms are going to have to watch their back to ensure that a new generation of lower priced machines don’t sweep up the market.