"For us, the NPE is the most important trade fair in the US, at which we will present product premieres, innovative processes and sophisticated applications to the trade visitors. The sales launch of the Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing in America will also coincide with the exhibition," says Friedrich Kanz, Managing Director of the North American Arburg subsidiary. "With our offerings, we cover the entire production spectrum – from the industrial additive manufacturing of one-off parts and multi-variant small batches, through to cost-effective injection moulding of mass-produced articles." He went on to say that production efficiency is the focus with regard to all of the exhibits.
Freeformer for two-component additive processingWith two Freeformers, Arburg will demonstrate how fully functional plastic parts can be additively manufactured from standard granulate using the patented Arburg Plastic Freeforming process based on 3D CAD data, without a mould. As with injection moulding, the granulate is first melted in a plasticising cylinder. Plastic droplets are applied layer-by-layer onto a moving part carrier via the nozzle of a stationary discharge unit by means of high-frequency piezo technology at a specified duty cycle of 60 to 200 Hertz.
The second discharge unit can be used for an additional component in order to produce, for example, a part in different colours, with special tactile qualities, or as a hard/soft combination. At the NPE, a Freeformer will combine an elastic standard TPU material with a special support material – a first in additive manufacturing. Possible applications include e.g. bellows, hoses, sleeves, or flexible components for robotic grippers. The supporting structures can subsequently be removed in a water bath.