German manufacturer of injection moulding machines, Arburg used the floor at EuroMold 2014 to demonstrate the potential of Arburg Plastic Freeforming for the industrial additive manufacturing of fully functional plastic parts.
Developed due to high demand from customers and equipped with three-axis component carrier and two stationary discharge units, the two Freeformer additive manufacturing systems show how end-use parts can be created from standard granulate using 3D CAD data.
The second discharge unit enables production of parts in different colours or different properties whilst another new option provides the ability to build up water soluble structures from a special supporting material for complex geometries. An application of this type is being demonstrated by a Freeformer this week at Euromold 2014 based on the example of a spare part made from ABS – in this case a two-part sliding lock which is used in the Allrounder injection moulding machines.
As an alternative, a supporting structure can be built up in the same material as the component itself. A thinned out intermediate layer with specifically generated predetermined breaking points enables the supporting structure to simply be broken off mechanically later. This option is preferred for components with free-standing structures and clearly defined edges.
Arburg Plastic Freeforming uses conventional plastic granulates as a base material. As with injection moulding, the granulate is first melted in a plasticising cylinder where a special nozzle then applies the plastic droplets layer-by-layer onto the component carrier using high-frequency piezo technology at a specified duty cycle of 60 to 200 Hertz. The moving component carrier is positioned so that each drop is deposited at the precise point calculated in advance. During cooling, the tiny droplets automatically fuse together creating the component layer by layer with dimensions of up to 190 x 135 x 250 millimetres.
Another advantage is that the Freeformer is user and environmentally friendly, requiring no additional infrastructure and now offers the ability to manufacture one off parts whilst remaining cost-effective.