When you walk into Hall 3.1 at formnext at the South Entrance, you’ll quite often hear a version of George Michael’s Careless Whisper, being played live. If you happen to be drawn towards those unmistakable riffs, you’ll see that the saxophonist is in residence on the Arburg booth, where the German chemical giant is displaying its latest additive manufacturing machinery, the Freeformer 300-3X on a rotating platform no less.
The upgrade on the Freeformer 200, boasts a 50% increase in build size and print three materials at a time, including some high-temperature materials that need to be processed at 350°C and above. The three extrusion heads allow users to create complex dual-material componentry with the third used for support.
In the press release Lukas Pawelczyk, who has been responsible for Freeformer sales worldwide since July 2018, says: “For many years, users have appreciated the benefits of our Freeformer 200-3X and the possibilities that the system and Arburg Plastic Freeforming have to offer. As a revolutionary next step, we’re celebrating the world premiere of the Freeformer 300-3X at the Formnext 2018, which will expand the Arburg product range and open up new fields of application. For the first time worldwide, complex and resilient functional parts can be produced from three components in hard/soft combination with support structure using this machine for industrial additive manufacturing – that’s unique in the industry.”
A two-part build chamber door is a new feature on the Freeformer 300-3X. This enables the feed hoppers, for example, to be refilled during ongoing operation by opening the top half of the door. The heated build chamber now only needs to be opened for inserting the part platform and removing the finished parts. Automatic opening and closing of the build chamber door, as well as optional interfaces, also enable automation of the additive manufacturing process and integration of the Freeformer in complete production lines.
Users can process original materials and optimise droplet size as well as process control with the open Freeformer system. The Arburg material database documents qualified standard granulates such as ABS (Terluran GP 35), PA10 (Grilamid TR XE 4010), PC (Makrolon 2805), TPE-U (Elastollan C78 A15) and PP (Braskem CP 393). Further examples include special plastics for specific applications such as medical PLLA (Purasorb PL18, Resomer LR 708) and a PC (Lexan 940) approved for aerospace use.
During the press conference, Arburg also announced a new financial service product that aims to help SMEs experiment with Freeformer technology. Arburg has made a 12-month rental package available, where a user will receive benchmarking, training and support, the monthly fee can part of which can be redeemed against a future purchase of the machine.