»We are keeping a promise«

by Frank Rößler - 15/11/2018

The industrialization of additive manufacturing is progressing. The exhibitors at Formnext are showing higher speeds and massively reduced production costs.

Stephan Beyer, CEO of BigRep, summed it up at the presentation of the two new AM systems BigRep EDGE and BigRep Pro: »We are delivering on a promise that has accompanied this industry since 30 years«. Speed, quality, integration into production processes, consistent quality regardless of production location, precision and handling of data volumes - all come into areas where the mass production of 3D-printed components and component groups is becoming economically interesting.

Andy Middleton, Executive Vice President at Stratasys, expressed the same view at the press conference at Formnext 2018: »In some years, additive manufacturing will have the same importance for mass production as it already has in the world of prototype manufacturing.«

This credo runs like a red thread through the presentations at the trade fair. voxeljet AG wants to be able to produce up to 2,100 parts per month with the new VX1000 and the high-speed sintering process - more than 25,200 parts per year. From 2019, this technology will be used by a supplier to the automotive industry.

reduce production times from hours to minutes

Stratasys is breaking new ground with its LPM technology (Layered Powder Metallurgy): The new production process is intended to reduce manufacturing costs by 80 percent and reduce production times from hours to minutes - per piece. In addition, the speed at which products come onto the market is to be increased by 90 percent. This is intended to encourage even more companies to switch over to additive manufacturing.

Siemens has also set itself the goal of »industrializing additive manufacturing,« said Karsten Heuser, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing, Digital Factory Competence Center. Additive production and CNC-controlled manufacturing are developing jointly. The principle of »Digital Twins«, the simulation of parts and work steps, is intended to make the principle »From try and see to first time right« tangible. Siemens is setting a good example by setting up a factory with 50 printers, which will not only be available to Siemens divisions but also to external customers as a service provider.