Category Archives: Additive manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing European Conference 2016 The need for a common European strategy to ensure Europe’s leading role in AM in the future is highlighted


High-level representatives from companies, EU institutions, think tanks and other stakeholders of the machine tools sector were present at the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing European Conference 2016, held at the European Parliament. They discussed the creation of a European strategy for additive manufacturing (AM) to support the steady, long-lasting and consistent development of this technology in Europe.

For the European Commission Peter Dröll, Director for Key Enabling Technologies DG Research and Innovation and Ronan Burgess, Head of the Photonics unit of DG Connect took the floor. They underlined the continued need for a unified approach at European level to consistently develop advanced technologies, like AM, and as such support the growth of the European industry. They also highlighted the importance of fostering digital industrial innovation in Europe.

From the industry, speakers from Siemens, Stratasys, SLM Solutions, Ultimaker, Materialise, 3D Italy and of a 3D printing project of development cooperation in Africa, CrowdforAfrica, underlined that AM offers transformative potentials and freedom from some production restrictions. It represents a “disruptive technology” that can have a positive impact on materials and energy saving, in addition to reducing supply chain cost and enhancing education and skills.

During the debate session, the panellists discussed the different topics to be included in a European AM strategy: from research to education, from IPR protection to SME development, from standardization to certification.

It becomes obvious that the current lack of coordination and multiannual planned intervention is diluting public and private investments, jeopardizing a pan-European AM-related exchange of knowledge, and exposing European AM entrepreneurs and end-users to international competitors.

New technologies like AM contribute to the competitiveness of manufacturing and must have the potential to increase sustainability both by reducing energy and materials consumption and increasing workers’ health and safety. In addition to the competitiveness and sustainability components, an overall strategy specific for AM should also include supporting access to finance, research and innovations, standardization and certification. To achieve these goals, dialogue between industrial stakeholders’ is fundamental.

The European strategy for AM should go beyond research funding to accelerate the market uptake of AM, including the development of standards, access to finance, especially for SMEs, awareness raising, skills development, IPR protection, liability regulations as well as qualification and certification procedures.

The panellists also debated on the ICT challenges faced by the European manufacturing sector. Advanced technologies allow the development of different and innovative supply chains, based on the moving of files and not only of materials, goods and people. Therefore, a strong ICT network is required in each of the 28 European Member States to allow the consistent development of AM technologies.

Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General stated: “CECIMO recognizes that in Europe, both national governments and the European Commission have been supporting AM development, R&I investments and related private-public partnerships through direct projects and funding of R&I centres. As a result, thanks also to innovative and courageous entrepreneurs, Europe takes the lead in the production of metal AM systems globally, capitalizing on its legacy in industrial production technologies. However, there are challenges and obstacles on the way to its industrialization that should be cleared and to that end, government policy must play a role in technology development and market uptake. With its know-how, skilled workforce and resources, Europe has the potential of ensuring a global center of excellence in AM.”

CECIMO will continue to provide European decision-makers with the necessary input to design a European strategy for additive manufacturing. All stakeholders are invited to contact CECIMO to participate in the association’s AM-related activities.

Award-winning: Freeformer receives “Leonardo da Vinci” design award

Arburg received the international “Leonardo da Vinci” Award on 17 March 2016 in Parma, Italy during the MECSPE trade fair. The Italian Association of Industrial Designers AIPI (Associazione Italiana Progettisti Industriali) awarded this prize to acknowledge the design of the Freeformer, an innovative system for additive manufacturing.

The Freeformer from Arburg was the recipient of the “Leonardo da Vinci” Award from the Italian Association of Industrial Designers.

“I’m delighted to accept this coveted award on behalf of Arburg Italy. Our Freeformer is unique – both in terms of design and the numerous options that it offers to plastics processing companies for the additive manufacturing of fully-functional one-off parts and small batches,” said Managing Director Adriano Carminati at the award ceremony, which was held during the MECSPE trade fair in Parma, Italy.

International design award
Established by Italy’s AIPI association in 1981, the international “Leonardo da Vinci” Award is presented every two years to individuals and companies who have made a valuable contribution to design and technical innovation for the industry. In addition to Arburg, this year’s recipients included Italian engineer Aldo Costa, who has designed and developed 32 Formula 1 racing cars, the Helicopter Division of Finmeccanica, and cycling company Victoria.

Innovative Freeformer for additive manufacturing
In order to also achieve a high level of production efficiency during the production of small batches down to a single unit, Arburg complemented its Allrounder injection moulding machines with the Freeformer for additive manufacturing, which it introduced to the Italian market in 2015. The Freeformer uses an additive manufacturing process to produce fully-functional plastic parts from qualified standard granulates on the basis of 3D CAD data.

Convincing industrial design
In 2014, the Freeformer already received the renowned Red Dot Award for “excellent product design”. Examples of how aesthetics and functionality have been combined include an easily accessible construction chamber with pivoting glass front, simple operating options and a fold-out PC with multi-touch screen mounted on the side. The clear, soft lines of the housing are reminiscent of modern telecommunications devices and are well suited for use in a design studio or laboratory environment. The fact that the overall concept is successful in visual terms is evidenced by the positive feedback from existing and prospective customers.

Delcam adds robot for additive manufacturing research

Delcam has added an ABB robot fitted with a Fronius CMT Advanced welding head to the range of manufacturing equipment at its Birmingham site. The new unit will be used mainly for research into the programming of robots for the additive manufacturing of metals with Delcam’s PowerMILL Robot software.

The ABB robot at Delcam will be used for research into metal additive manufacturing.

Cold Metal Transfer welding was initially developed by Fronius to join materials with different properties, in particular for welding aluminium to steel. The process uses very high frequency movement of the wire to give a clean, spatter-free material transfer. It provides a stable, reproducible deposition of material that Delcam believes should have great potential in metal additive manufacturing.

The ABB robot arm offers six axes of movement, with an additional two axes, tilt and rotation, provide by the table holding the material. This additional flexibility allows parts to be oriented into the optimum position as they are being built so enabling complex shapes to be created with less need for extra support structures.

PowerMILL Robot makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool. As a fully-associated application inside PowerMILL, users have access to all the multi-axis machining strategies within PowerMILL and can use all the system’s project management options to manage, store and retrieve data.

As well as making it possible to program robots for additive manufacturing, PowerMILL Robot can be used for tool-to-part applications, especially for machining large parts, such as composite panels that need to be trimmed, or for part-to-tool applications, such as grinding or polishing.

Arburg at the Moldplas 2015

The Moldplas 2015 will be held in Batalha, Portugal from 28 to 31 October 2015. ARBURG will be presenting a complete range of plastic parts production – from one-off parts through to high-volume production – on Stand 3B04, Hall 3. The Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing will be presented in Portugal for the first time. In the injection moulding area, there will be a demonstration of multi-component injection moulding of iPhone covers.

Industrial additive manufacturing: with the Freeformer and Arburg Plastic Freeforming, functional parts can be produced from qualified standard granulate without requiring a mould.
Industrial additive manufacturing: with the Freeformer and Arburg Plastic Freeforming, functional parts can be produced from qualified standard granulate without requiring a mould.

“The Freeformer will enable our customers to produce prototypes in the material of their choice, thereby achieving a significant reduction in development times. Moreover, it is also possible to produce fully functional parts in batches as small as a single unit,” says Martín Cayre, Managing Director of Arburg’s Spanish subsidiary.

Freeformer additively processes two components
The Moldplas 2015 will be the first time that the Freeformer and Arburg Plastic Freeforming (AKF) will be seen in Portugal. The Freeformer uses the patented “Arburg Plastic Freeforming” process to produce fully functional parts from qualified plastic granulates based on 3D CAD data, without the need for a mould. The granulate is first melted in a plasticising cylinder as with injection moulding. Plastic droplets are then applied layer-by-layer onto a moving part carrier via the nozzle of a stationary discharge unit, using high-frequency piezo technology at a specified duty cycle (60 to 200 Hertz).
The second discharge unit can be used for an additional component in order, for example, to produce a part in different colours, with special tactile qualities, or as a hard/soft combination. At the Moldplas, the second component will be used to produce a part with complex geometries using water-soluble supporting structures. Subsequently, the supporting structures are simply removed in a water bath.

Multi-component injection moulding
As an example of the automated production of high-volume parts, an electric two-component Allrounder 470 A will be used at the Moldplas 2015 to produce covers for an iPhone 6. This application will be realised with Portuguese partner Plasdan, which will provide a 1+1-cavity mould, special rotation technology and, in addition to the size 290 electric injection unit from Arburg, a second electric injection unit that can be retrofitted to existing machines. The two-colour iPhone covers, made in a hard-soft combination, are produced in a cycle time of 21 seconds. A Multilift Select robotic system is used to handle the moulded parts, which weigh around 15 g.

Alldrive high performance series
The Allrounder A has an energy requirement which is up to 50 per cent lower than for standard hydraulic machines. Servo drive energy recovery during braking also contributes to this saving. Short cycle times are achieved with the aid of the standard, servo-electrically driven independent main axes. Play-free, direct-acting spindle drives ensure maximum repeat accuracy and part quality. Low emissions thanks to liquid-cooled, encapsulated servo-electric drives are a further benefit. Convenient operation of the production sequence is ensured by means of the universal Selogica control system.

Arburg: Exclusive partner at the Hannover Messe 2015

Two worlds will converge at the Hannover Messe 2015: the worlds of additive manufacturing and injection moulding. As an exclusive partner of the “Additive Manufacturing Plaza”, the special new exhibit at the leading “Digital Factory” trade fair from 13 to 17 April, Arburg will demonstrate how this works.

With the Freeformer for additive manufacturing and Allrounder injection moulding machines, Arburg covers the entire industrial production spectrum.
With the Freeformer for additive manufacturing and Allrounder injection moulding machines, Arburg covers the entire industrial production spectrum.

The main focus of the fair, “Industrial Automation and IT”, combines two leading trade fairs, “Industrial Automation” and “Digital Factory”. In 2015, the “Additive Manufacturing Plaza” will be held for the first time as part of the “Digital Factory”, with exclusive partner Arburg, in a prominent position in Hall 7 of the exhibition centre. This special exhibit deals specifically with the use of additive processes in industrial production. Heinz Gaub, Arburg Managing Director Technology & Engineering, comments: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to present our Freeformer and the patented technology of Arburg Plastic Freeforming in this setting. Firstly, this confirms both the significance of our new industrial system for additive manufacturing and the individualisation of plastic parts as well as the importance of Arburg as a source of expertise in this future-oriented sector.”

Additive manufacturing generates more value from high-volume products
In collaboration with cooperation partners, Arburg demonstrates how, through additive manufacturing, mass-produced articles can be finished with plastics in such a way that manufacturers can generate added value from them. The objective of producing individual plastic parts on an industrial scale is presented by means of a process chain with Industry 4.0 technology. The items under production are “rocker-type light switches” from Gira, the renowned manufacturer of facility management systems.

The technology and expertise in the field of additive manufacturing and the injection moulding of high-volume products, as well as the networking of processes via a host computer system, all originate from Arburg. In addition to Gira (product design and mould construction), other project partners are Trumpf (lettering applied to parts by laser), Fuchs Engineering (quality checks) and Fpt Robotik (Automation).

The entire process chain, “development – production – application”, is demonstrated by means of individual process modules. The process steps commence with product design, followed by the recording of an order and injection moulding production, including lettering applied by laser, plus a quality check. This is followed by the main step of additive part individualisation. The process is rounded off by packaging and the demonstration of comprehensive traceability via a linked host computer.

The process modules in detail
The “Product design” station, which includes a CAD workstation and a Freeformer, shows the production of prototype parts.
The process chain for the production of the rocker-type light switches starts at a PC station where the individual orders are recorded and the visitor selects his own symbol/name combination.
The light switch basic body is series produced on an Allrounder injection moulding machine. This is part of an automated production cell, which also includes part inspection and code applied by laser. The laser-applied DM code enables the process and quality parameters of each moulded part to be retrieved online – in accordance with the individual part traceability required by Industry 4.0. Here, the Arburg host computer system plays a key role.
The Freeformer turns every rocker-type light switch into a unique item by applying the individual symbol/name combination in an additive process with plastics. As the next step, the finished products are placed in “their” packaging in a robotic cell. The packaging is conveyed inline to the process chain and the relevant rocker-type light switch is printed with the symbol/name combination and a QR code, which also enables the product parameters to be retrieved online.
Specialists are at hand to answer questions at every station of the process chain.

Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies Ltd. wins First-Ever International Additive Manufacturing Award

After considering a slate of leading-edge innovations in additive manufacturing from top global users and system suppliers, the jury for the inaugural International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) has selected Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies Ltd., of the United Kingdom and Plano, Texas, as its winning submission. The award was presented on March 6, 2015, during a reception at The MFG (Manufacturing for Growth) Meeting in Orlando, Fla.


Hybrid Manufacturing’s submission is a hybrid kit innovation that can be integrated into any CNC machine to allow for metal deposition (via laser cladding), finishing and inspection of parts on a single machine. The hybrid methodology integrates directed energy deposition into multiaxis CNC machine, using a tool changer to change between processes.

“Hybrid technology is exciting because it offers a new way to adopt additive manufacturing – as an upgrade to a CNC machine tool. Adding tool-changeable deposition heads to an existing CNC machine enables 3D printing of metal, without the need to buy a separate machine,” said Dr Jason Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. “This significantly reduces costs and provides an intuitive adoption path for CNC operators. The combination of additive with machining offers new capabilities, including in-process finishing, that cannot be delivered by either technology independently.”

“As a team, we are very excited to win the inaugural IAMA,” Jones said. “We are grateful for the exposure it brings to hybrid processing generally, and specifically to the seven years of foundational innovations that we have led in this area. We express our thanks to all those who contributed to the award.”

Dr Jones will have the pleasure to make a presentation at the Additive Manufacturing European Conference to be held Tuesday 6 October 2015 during EMO Milano 2015. EMO is the undisputed leading exhibition of the machine tool sector. It is a true point of reference in promoting the contact between the demand and the offer of manufacturing systems, irrespective of sector trends

The IAMA is the result of a partnership between AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology and VDW-Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). AMT and VDW, with media support from Gardner Business Media and VDI Nachrichten and sponsored by the European Machine Tool Association CECIMO, first announced the annual IAMA at IMTS-The International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014 in Chicago, Il.

Countdown to Moulding Expo 2015 is on

Great anticipation among exhibitors about their new exhibition Over the past few weeks, the two Moulding Expo project managers, Florian Niethammer and Florian Schmitz, have repeatedly stressed the importance of “organising an exhibition based on the requirements of the exhibiting companies”.


This is the only way the international event can really be implemented under the slogan “By the industry for the industry”. Statements from some selected exhibitors already show they are looking forward to the first Moulding Expo. Moulding Expo in Stuttgart, which will take place from 5 to 8 May, is the première for a platform where leading companies in the tool-making, model-making and mould construction industry will present their expertise and products to international customers every two years. The full range of high technology the industry has to offer will be on show – from dies for injection moulding and casting to the latest developments in model-making and prototype construction or additive manufacturing (AM) processes. In Stuttgart visitors can also expect to see technology highlights from all the renowned suppliers and service providers in the industry. Besides customers of the tool, model and mould making industries – for example users from the automotive, medical engineering and plastics industries – Moulding Expo also targets designers, product developers and tool, model and mould makers themselves.

Over 20 per cent of companies exhibiting their innovations in Stuttgart come from abroad. At present, three exhibition halls, 4, 6 and 8, are already booked up with more than 390 exhibitors. By the beginning of May, it is expected that there will be more than 400 exhibitors and a total of 31,500 square metres will be fully booked.