Gaining the look and feel of the final product

Kärcher alleviates pressure on design cycles with multi-material 3D printing

01/03/2019 - According to Kärcher, innovation is the most important factor in ensuring company growth. Approximately 90 percent of all products in the Kärcher portfolio are five years old or less. With this level of optimization and innovation comes a need for fast, efficient and tailored processes, from the design-stage through to the final product shipment.To maintain this pace of innovation, Kärcher has been using Stratasys 3D printing technology for 20 years.

Kärcher’s recent product development is a prime example of optimizing a design to offer customers the best possible product. The Easy!Force trigger gun is the heart of the latest Kärcher high pressure cleaner. Its patented design incorporates several different materials with varying rigidity and complex geometries. This combination makes realistic prototyping difficult with traditional manufacturing methods.

Realistic prototypes

»Traditionally we would use milling or order individual standard parts to assemble prototypes for products,« explains Achim Sanzenbacher, Manager Prototyping at Kärcher. »This not only took a long time, it also constrained our ability to create a true-to-life prototype with the look and feel of the final product. Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing with its rubber-like Agilus material and colourful, smooth Vero material has enabled us to create prototypes that mimic the final part in no time at all.«

»Creating a 3D printed prototype that allows us to replicate the different soft and hard materials in one print shortens our design cycles, as we can make a faster and better assessment that the prototype is fit-for-purpose,« adds Florian Friedl, Specialist, Kärcher.

Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG

Kärcher is a name familiar to many households or garden owners, and its distinctive yellow and black logo is synonymous with cleaning systems around the world. Since 1950 when Alfred Kärcher invented the first high pressure cleaner in Europe, the Winnenden-headquartered family business has expanded beyond its German roots and today boasts offices in almost 70 countries. High-pressure cleaners, vacuum and steam cleaners, vacuum sweepers and scrubber driers, gantry car washes, drinking water and waste water treatment systems, water dispensers, a telematics-based fleet management system as well as pumps and watering systems for home and garden, make up the company’s vast portfolio.