KraussMaffei Begins Selling and Renting Large-Scale 3D Printing System
Its first additive manufacturing machine, powerPrint, runs composite materials
Plastics machinery giant KraussMaffei spread its wings last October when it revealed plans at K2022 to enter the additive manufacturing (AM) machinery market with a pair of 3D printing systems—powerPrint and precisionPrint.
Fast forward to late July and the company, based in Parsdorf, Germany, announced it has begun selling the powerPrint model, capable of making products with a volume of up to 10 cubic meters (353.14 cubic feet). At the same time, the machinery maker disclosed it was offering a print-on-demand service.
KraussMaffei said it applied the extensive process knowledge gained from manufacturing systems for extrusion, injection molding and reaction process machinery to help develop its AM technology.
Printing Various Composite Materials
The company has been successfully testing composite materials on the machine, which prints components with dimensions of up to 2 by 2.5 by 2 meters (6.5 by 8.2 by 6.5 feet). A spokeswoman said it has done test prints with PETG, ABS, polycarbonate, polypropylene and nylon that contained carbon fiber or glass fiber.
The powerPrint unit has output of up to 30 kilograms (66 pounds) per hour with an extruder nozzle area of 2 to 20mm (0.07 to 0.78 inch) and prints at a temperature of up to 350°C (662°F), according to Rolf Mack, KM’s vice president of additive manufacturing. (See a video about how the machine works at https://youtu.be/i3rnNVqGkAA)
“The powerPrint is ready to produce custom parts at the customer’s facility with the highest industry and quality standards,” Mack stated. He said the machine is suitable for all industries that require high-quality, large-format objects, such as tool and mold makers, packaging and logistics, and the automotive industry.
There are two ways to remove parts from the machine—from the front through a door or by crane via a folding roof in the heat-resistant enclosure. KM says that users can change print jobs quickly due to vacuum-fixed printing plates. The firm also specially developed a human-machine interface to ensure intuitive, simple and safe operation of the device.
New Service Is an Alternative to Buying a Machine
Mack says if companies want to test the powerPrint unit first, KraussMaffei is offering a print-on-demand service as an alternative to purchase. In this service, KM designs applications according to customer specifications and technical possibilities, prints the job and handles post-processing. The powerPrint unit has implemented several components in this way, such as a molding tool for the vacuum infusion process, a sand-casting mold and a charging column, among others.
The spokeswoman said that KraussMaffei will give an update on its precisionPrint stereolithography model at the Formnext Expo 2023 in November in Frankfurt, Germany.
At the initial announcement last fall, KM said the highly automated precisionPrint system offers “cost-effective production of components with stringent requirements for surface quality and detail resolution on an industrial scale.”
The company noted that a laser system and an end-to-end system concept enables series production of AM components for short-run printing of electrical/electronic parts like high-precision connectors or custom designs, the medical industry, such as hearing aids, or sports and leisure products.