Additive Manufacturing Becomes 30 Times Faster
Large-format parts, high volumes, maximum productivity - 3D printing with granules opens up new application areas for additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing technology is advancing rapidly. 3D printing is becoming a well-established manufacturing process in a growing number of industry sectors. Directly processing thermoplastic pellets using screw extrusion for a layer-by-layer deposition in additive manufacturing makes high production speeds and large parts possible.
Direct Extrusion processes known as SEAM (Screw extrusion additive manufacturing) and FGF (Fused Granulate Fabrication) favour reinforced and optimized materials. Printing with highly reinforced materials is standard in this technology. Compounds with 40 % carbon fibre reinforcement or 60 % glass fibre reinforcement can be processed in additive manufacturing using an extruder. That way also semi-crystalline materials such as polyamides or polyesters can be processed with a high dimensional stability. Filaments are usually limited to a filler content less than 20 %.
Printing with standard pellets is cost-effective. The complex production of precise filaments is typically priced 10-30 times higher than the process with plastic pellets described above. Compared to powders used in SLS-processes the factor is even higher.
AKRO-PLASTIC's ICF-Compounds combine high strength and low density with high production speeds for additive manufacturing. For example, AKROMID® B3 ICF 30 AM (7451) is used in series production of a 3D printed carrier of a hygiene shield manufactured by Faurecia and Yizumi Germany, which separates the driver area from the passengers in the fleet of the ride pooling company MOIA. Large production aids like jigs, fixtures or entire handling systems with weights easily exceeding 100 kg are made possibly with AKROMID® B3 ICF 40 AM black (8236) profiting from its high dimensional stability and mechanical properties.
Additive or generative manufacturing methods are defined as processes in which components are built up layer by layer starting from 3D volume models. Unlike injection molding, no tool is required. These processes are often also referred to as 3D printing and include several technologies that differ in the materials used and the process of generative built-up. For example, sintering processes with powders (powder bed fusion), photopolymerization of liquid polymers and material extrusion are used to process plastics. Material strands are deposited in extrusion processes (FDM - Fused Depostion Modeling). Plastics are fed in extrusion processes as filament (FFF - Fused Filament Fabrication) or in the form of granules (FGF - Fused granulate fabrication).
In subtractive manufacturing, on the other hand, a component is produced by removing material. For example, a smaller component is created from a material blank by grinding, drilling or milling. Parts produced by 3D printing are often post-processed to achieve improved dimensional and surface tolerances. Particularly in the FGF process also called SEAM (Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing), the combination of additive and subtractive manufacturing is useful to additively print components with a high output rate and to locally rework functional areas by subtractive processes.
Hybrid manufacturing cell at IKV in the 73-minute manufacture of a 90 cm high rotor wing (left) and resulting component properties in the example of microscopy recordings of the component surface (right).
New Possibilities in Additve Manufacturing
The processing of highly reinforced plastic compounds opens up new possibilities in additive manufacturing and is a core competence of AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH in Niederzissen. The carbon fibre reinforced AKROMID® B3 ICF 30 9 AM (7451) is successfully used by the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen in this newly developed melt deposition modelling process (MDM process).
On the basis of improved thermal conductivity of the carbon fibre reinforced compound, the associated faster cooling speeds and the low lot tolerance for high-fill plastics, a stable manufacturing process with high production speeds has been implemented which results in outstanding mechanical properties. In order to improve the dosing and the feeding rate, AKROMID® is also supplied in granulate sizes below 1 mm in diameter which allows the use of finer dosing systems with even shorter holding times.
Resins ICF Compound.
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At Fakuma Trade Fair 2021 (Hall B2 Booth 2108), a pen holder is presented by Yizumi using the 3D printing process.
The 3D printing is done on a preheated adhesive layer coated with the Plasmaplus Coating developed by Plasmatreat. The pen holder is printed with our AKROMID® NEXT U3 ICF 40 1 black (8238). It is a polymer based on castor oil. The biomass content in the polymer is 97%, and the compound is also reinforced with 40% recycled carbon fiber (PIR).
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In this video the process of additive manufacturing is applied. The video was recorded at the Hannover Fair 2018.
Nicolai Lammert – Institute of Plastics Processing in Aachen
Dr.-Ing. Nicolai Lammert, who headed the “Additive manufacturing” team at the Institute of Plastics Processing in Aachen and who was responsible for the development and implementation of the hybrid manufacturing cell, shown initially at K2016. Based on his thorough process analysis he is very positive about the new method: “With the help of our manufacturing technology and the 30 % carbon fibre reinforced polyamide 6, we are able to realise ultimate stress levels of 148 MPa on the manufacturing level (XY direction) and 40 MPa in the manufacturing direction (Z direction) on the component.
The properties in the Z direction correspond to 85 % of the mechanical properties of pure PA 6 basic thermoplastics. The anisotropy material properties of the compound, and the high mechanical properties in the manufacturing direction, can now be used specifically for load path adjustment of mechanical properties in the subsequent component due to the flexible mobility of the industrial robot. At a discharge capacity of 6 g/min currently, it is also possible to increase the production speed in comparison to the FLM-based manufacturing method by a factor of 20. We also see significant potential for more here.” Dr. Lammert is building on the potential by industrializing the technology as head of the Additive Manufacturing Business Unit at Yizumi Germany GmbH.
Dr. Jan Dormanns – SMP Deutschland GmbH
Due to the significantly increased production speed using a series production-tested technical thermoplastic, the hybrid manufacturing cell is not limited to the production of prototypes, but opens up new possibilities with regard to rapid manufacturing.
An exemplary application for such large-sized components is the concept study of a highly-integrative bionic support structure for instrument panels for the automotive supplier SMP Deutschland GmbH based in Bötzingen. Dr. Jan Dormanns, Project Manager in pre-development, explains: “In this bionic structure, both cross beams and air ducts as well as connectors for airbags, steering columns, displays and cladding parts are combined into one supporting unit.
In an overall concept where few tools are used and with investment savings of over 1.5 m Euros, rapid manufacturing could allow economical manufacture of such structures for small series. The MDM method of the IKV and the compounds of AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH make a great contribution to the future industrial feasibility of such concepts.”
Potential application for future rapid manufacturing: Concept study of a bionic support structure for instrument panels of SMP Germany GmbH.
If you are interested in further information or if you have any question regarding additive manufacturing please contact one of our experts:
Mr. Michael Rieck
Business Development Manager /Key Account
Disclaimer: All specifications and information given on this website are based on our current knowledge and experience. A legally binding promise of certain characteristics or suitability for a concrete individual case cannot be derived from this information. The information supplied here is not intended to release processors and users from the responsibility of carrying out their own tests and inspections in each concrete individual case. AKRO®, AKROMID®, AKROLEN®, AKROLOY®, AKROTEK®, ICX®, PRECITE® and DIA(hr)LOG® are registered trademarks of AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH.