Formlabs releases automation system for production printing

Jan. 25, 2023
The Automation Ecosystem makes 24/7 printing achievable, allowing users to produce end-use parts, prototypes and customizable products at lower costs.

By Bruce Geiselman

Three-D printer manufacturer Formlabs has unveiled its Automation Ecosystem, which consists of hardware and software aimed at automating 3D printer fleets to help customers with high-capacity printing jobs.  

The Automation Ecosystem reduces the need for labor and minimizes idle printer time while making 24/7 printing more achievable, according to the company. Users can schedule multiple prints to run overnight and on weekends. It can help customers more efficiently produce end-use parts, prototypes and customizable products at lower costs.   

“The Formlabs Automation Ecosystem is a seamless solution for ramping up production with 3D printer fleets, staying true to the ease of use of all Formlabs products, so anyone can make anything,” Formlabs Chief Product Officer David Lakatos said in a statement. “These solutions will enable companies such as dental labs, service bureaus and internal job shops to ramp up production without increasing labor requirements, or expensive capital investment, making 3D printing for production more cost-effective.”  

The Automation Ecosystem consists of three new products:  

  • Fleet Control is a new software package that simplifies advanced 3D printer fleet management by optimizing workflows to maximize fleet productivity. The suite of new features operates within Formlabs’ Dashboard and Preform software that includes centralized queue management and automatic printer assignment to optimize production, performance and printer efficiency with Form 3/3+, Form 3B/3B+, Form 3L and Form 3BL printer fleets. It is available for immediate purchase at $100 per printer per year.  
  • Form Auto reduces the need for human labor by automatically removing parts from a printer’s build platform using the company’s patented Quick Release Technology (which allows the 3D printed parts to be removed from the build surface quickly and easily), and it starts the next print in the queue as soon as possible. The build table releases printed parts so they can drop into a container for later retrieval. The hardware extension works with Form 3 and Form 3+ 3D printers. Form Auto is available for preorder and costs $3,399, which includes one year of Fleet Control and the Form Auto attachment (no printer included). After the first year, Fleet Control costs $100 per printer per year. Shipping starts April 15.  
  • The High-Volume Resin System has the capacity to store five liters of resin, which is five times the standard cartridge size, according to the company. The higher capacity minimizes interruptions for cartridge replacements, reduces labor requirements and makes 3D printing of production parts more cost effective. This product is compatible with the Form 3+, Form 3B+, Form 3L, and Form 3BL. Pricing has not yet been announced and it is not yet available for preorder.  

The three products are available as a package or separately.  

“The Automation Ecosystem will enable any Formlabs user to seamlessly increase output with multi-user and multi-printer fleets,” said Derek Vilim, hardware product manager, Formlabs. “It’s ideal for customers in many industries, including dental, manufacturing, consumer products, automotive, aerospace, medical, product design and other industries.”  

The technology can particularly benefit manufacturers looking to adopt “lights out” manufacturing.  

“As users scale their 3D printing production from one to multiple printers, the Automation Ecosystem makes the transition easy without adding management complexity,” Vilim said in a written statement provided to Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing.   

“With multi-user, multi-material printer fleet management, the Automation Ecosystem enables continuous production so users can send multiple prints to run overnight and into the weekend. Rather than requiring hands-on intervention between prints, the Form Auto, for example, removes finished parts from the Build Platform 2 using the patented Quick Release Technology, and starts the next print in the queue as soon as possible. Together with Formlabs 3D printers, the Ecosystem provides a three-time increase in productivity while saving up to 80 percent on labor, lowering cost per part by 40 percent, and reducing packaging waste up to 96 percent.” 


Formlabs Inc., Somerville, Mass., 617-702-8476,

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.