Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA)
For aesthetic evaluation and low volume vacuum casting and moulding, ATS UK can provide you with a wide range of SLA models, which offer you a fast, cost effective method of proving CAD design before you determine your chosen production route.
Working in partnership with industry leaders in this field of technology, we can manufacture accurate prototypes, with a typical tolerance of +/-0.1mm per 100mm. SLA modelling offers the best RP process for accurate master models for secondary processes, and form fit and function prototypes.
Advantage of SLA:
- Quick delivery
- Produce master models for polyurethane tooling.
- Produce design verification models
- Investment and Quickcast tooling.
- Direct manufacturing
- Range of material properties
- Accuracy, not geometry sensitive
- Parts can be surface finished to look like production material parts
- Excellent durability and wear characteristics.
Stereolithography resins available:
- General purpose
- Water clear
- High temperature filled.
Delivery and Finishing:
- 2-3 days for unfinished parts. (Support structure removed and bead blast.)
- 3-5 days for finished 'A' surface. (‘A’ surface delayer.)
- 5-6 days for fully finished models. (Paint finishes in any colour and finish, eg gloss, spark, satin, matt.)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) is a 3-D manufacturing process, in which an Argon laser draws your part, one slice at a time, onto a fine powdered nylon 12, before sintering (melting) the parts together into a solid part. This self-supporting process enables parts to be built within other geometrically complex parts, which could not be made in any other way. Accurate to +/- 0.2mm per 100mm.
SLS parts are ideal for design verification models, space models and as fully functional engineering models. This process allows complete design freedom for low volume production runs, and can accommodate specialist and niche applications.
Laser Sintering operates in a similar way to Stereolithography (SLA above), both being layer-additive processes. Stereolithography's photosensitive resin is replaced by a fine heat fusible powder, such as wax or thermoplastic. The powder is stored in powder feed cartridges at either end of the build envelope.
The powder is pushed out from the cartridge by a piston and a roller spreads an even layer over the build envelope. A high powered, typically 50 watt, CO2 laser draws each slice of the CAD model on the surface of the powder, locally melting and fusing it together. The build envelope is then lowered by one slice thickness, and the process repeated until the model is complete.
Working in partnership with industry leaders in this field of technology, ATS UK can also provide accurate SLS prototypes in a wide range of materials. The Nylon and 20% GF Nylon materials used in this system offer the most durable prototype parts from any RP system. The tough Nylon 11 is heat resistant up to 150ºC and is the obvious choice for functional prototypes that are to be used in working situations.
This is still the only system that can deliver living-hinges direct from an RP machine. With an improved accuracy of +/- 0.15mm and smoother surface quality, this system now suits all manufacturing sectors.
SLS - Selective Laser Sintering prices are generally lower than SLA modelling due to the reduced post finishing required from this powder based system. The self-supporting powder system also has the advantage of a multiple build option where large numbers of the same component can be built in one build, drastically reducing the individual part cost. This has applications for direct manufacturing and low-volume prototype runs.
Components can be post coloured chemically in black or primary colours, or infiltrated with aluminium powder for alternative cosmetic surfaces. A full spray-paint finishing service is also available in the exact colour and surface finish required. References to Pantone, NCS, Ral and VDI or Mouldtech are specified by the customer.
SLS (Selective Laser Sintered) models have strength approximate to 75% of an injection moulded nylon component. Consequently, they are ideal for reproducing clips, catches and living-hinges. The models are very robust, though slightly porous. Aadditional hand finishing can be carried out to produce a very high quality surface finish.
Advantages of SLS:
- For form, fit, function and aesthetic evaluation
- Accurate fully functional prototypes
- Snap fits and live hinges
- High temperature and chemical resistance.
- Duraform PA
- Duraform GF PA
- Duraform EX
- Windform XT.
- 2-3 days
- 3-5 days for finished 'A' surface.
- 5-6 days for fully finished models.
Fuse Deposition Models
Used to produce real ABS & polycarbonate parts, which are strong and have good surface finish. Sections can be as thin as 1mm. Parts are ideal for testing fit and function. Surface finish not as good as SLA parts but better than SLS.
Manufactured from a wide variety of materials, CNC models range from machined plastic parts through to full cube models for testing, research & evaluation.
Models are produced using one of our 18 fully integrated 5 and 3+2 axis CNC machines, with digital controls, integral tool changers and a capacity up to 4000mm x 2000mm 2000mm (TBC) in a single block. Used as a modular block, the size can be much greater.
The CNC model can then be used to create resin laminate parts, RIM tooling, vacuum form tooling, patterns and master models.
Pattern & Modelmaking
Hand made models, mock-ups and local area features can be created by hand to assess clearance, operation and functionality of concepts.
ATS UK is one of Europe's leading producers of sectional, full-size and scale prototype models. Our team of highly skilled pattern and model makers, together with our state of the art facilities, enable us to offer a unique combination of high technology and traditional craft skills.
This includes a full finishing, painting and texturing service, providing our customers with prototypes that match their exact requirements.
Copy Aids(Games Workshop Models)
All our skilled model makers are multi-disciplined, and have abilities in other areas such as CAD, toolmaking, vacuum casting, and reaction injection moulding. This means we have immediate access to additional skilled manpower for larger projects or when working to extremely tight deadlines.
The Lotus Tesla case study, a full-size model, demonstrates the versatility and skills of our talented team.
Verification ModelsVerification models are used to prove the viability of a design, the aesthetics and, of course, "form, fit and function”. This facility services the following areas of industry:
- Sectional and full scale models for aerospace and automotive(BAE Flight simulator case study)
- Wind tunnel models for aerospace and automotive (Lotus Tesla case study)
- Static, full-scale ‘A’ surface space models (JCB case study)
- Detailed copy aids (Games Workshop)
- Fully finished scaled models (case study)