Table of contents:
- Personalize your car with 3D printing
- New FDM technology enables components of unlimited length to be printed
- Airbus uses 3D printing for the A350 XWB
Video: How Two 3D Printers Could Change Production
The Infinite Build 3D demonstrator enables us to print very large parts quickly, which is particularly interesting for the aerospace industry. With the demonstrator, the parts can also be printed very accurately and repeatably. Post-processing is not necessary - if a user prints a part, he can use it directly - this is very important for what we do. Our development is not quite there yet, but we are on the way there.
How did Stratasys manage to print “infinitely” large parts?
The space in a classic 3D printer is usually limited. However, by rotating the classic system 90 degrees, we can print very large parts on a vertical surface. In theory, a part can be printed indefinitely as long as it runs out of the printer and is supported on a flat surface. You can imagine that a bit like a sausage or hamburger machine. The parts don't have to be huge, of course, the demonstrator can print all sizes - but I think the typical user will use it for large parts because that's the biggest advantage of the printer.
At the same time, Stratasys introduced the robotic composite 3D demonstrator. What is the innovation here?
The most interesting thing about the robotic composite 3D demonstrator is the ability to print directly on the moving production line. So if you think of the aerospace industry, for example, it would be possible to print something directly in the cabin during production. I think that we developed the system together with Siemens - one of the largest integrators worldwide - that gave us many opportunities. And the partnership is a win for both sides, because Siemens also needed a reliable partner - and we are the largest additive company in the world.
Support structures should no longer be necessary for either system. Why?
With the robotic composite 3D demonstrator, the part itself is the support. Due to the axis movement, a supporting structure is no longer necessary. The same applies to the Infinite Build 3D demonstrator - as long as the part is held together with what we call a scaffolding, you don't need any classic support material. This way, no unnecessary material is wasted. In fact, in the long term we want to insert a carrier as part of the machine, so that only the actual part has to be printed.
Additional information on the topic of cooperation with Siemens, Ford & Boeing
Stratasys and Siemens worked closely together to develop the robotic composite 3D demonstrator. In order to be able to print objects in more detail, printing is no longer 3-axis, but 8-axis. Siemens has contributed the industrial hardware for the motion control and the PLM software. Combined with Stratasys' advanced extrusion technology, the companies want to revolutionize composite printing.
Stratasys is working with Boeing and Ford on the Infinite Build 3D demonstrator. Boeing is currently using a 3D demonstrator to test the production of lightweight, low volume components. Ford and Stratasys want to jointly test and develop new applications for 3D printed materials in the automotive industry that were previously not possible due to size restrictions.
How can a mechanical engineer benefit from the new systems?
Our customers, but also our own engineers, are already using our printers today - they design small parts and glue them together. The engineers can print out the same part fully automatically in one piece with the new system - post-processing would therefore be eliminated, which would be the quickest and easiest way to construct the part.
Are there any current application examples?
Together with Boeing we use a prototype system. Boeing is experimenting with many different applications. We have one of them here, a rocket tip. So far we have no parts in a concrete application, but we are only at the beginning. I imagine that in the long term it would be possible to print very large replacement and replacement parts for aircraft, they are always needed. Then the parts would not be in stock, but could be made on demand.
Can other industries benefit from aviation?
Well, one of my visions is to print the wind turbine rotor blades. Nowadays, the rotor blades are up to 50 m long - and that's a big problem for transportation. They have to be brought to the site in one piece, so the roads are of course a big problem. This means a very big limitation for the construction. But there is no reason why you could not produce more efficiently directly on the construction site on a larger scale - either the rotor blades themselves or the skeleton structure.
So far, the printers have only been demonstrators. When will the systems be on the market?
Well, it's the first time we've built a technical demonstrator. That's why we said we shouldn't turn a demonstrator into a sales product and talk about delivery dates, prices and features. It's not an easy way to market something. As an entrepreneur, you want a product that you can sell - here we need the customers who help us, I think. And to achieve that, you have to present the idea early.
Thank you very much, Mr Crump.
Personalize your car with 3D printing
New FDM technology enables components of unlimited length to be printed
Airbus uses 3D printing for the A350 XWB
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