Additive Manufacturing

freeformer: free-forming of individual parts

In contrast to conventional 3D printing, with ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF), qualified standard granulates are melted in a similar way to the injection moulding process. The freeformer uses tiny droplets to build one-off parts or small-volume batches on the basis of 3D CAD data without requiring a mould. By linking injection moulding and additive manufacturing, it is also possible to individualise high volume parts – fully automatically in single-unit batches.

Unique freeformer system

Industrial additive manufacturing
The freeformer 200-3X and the large freeformer 300-3X unlock new possibilities in industrial additive manufacturing. Depending on the requirements, the freeformer is available in various sizes with two or three discharge units. The additive manufacturing systems are suitable for industrial additive manufacturing of one-off parts and multi-variant small-volume batches, as well as for the customisation of high-volume parts.

Gain an impression of our freeformers and of ARBURG Plastic Freeforming and discover the added value that our unique system can offer you.

AM (Additive Manufacturing) Factory

Fully automated industrial additive manufacturing
The ARBURG AM Factory demonstrates how an IT-networked turnkey system, built around a freeformer 300-3X and a six-axis robot, functionalises variants of standard gripper plates – in a process that is fully automated according to customer requirements, and 100 percent traceable.

A freeformer 300-3X enhances vacuum gripper base plates made of aluminium 'on demand', adding functional contours made of soft TPU plastic. All handling, including functional testing of the newly created gripper, is performed by a six-axis robot. With our ARBURG Turnkey Control Module (ATCM) SCADA system, the manufacturing process of each gripper is 100 percent traceable. The DM code of the part is used to display relevant manufacturing data on an individual website, including build time, material, droplet count and build chamber room temperature.

Individualised parts created step by step

  • Selection of the gripper variant at the terminal
  • Labelling of the gripper base plate with a DM code
  • Plasma treatment of the plate
  • Application of the TPU contour with the freeformer
  • Functional check

freeformer

No mould required for a functional part
Our freeformer uses ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF) to produce functional plastic parts from qualified standard granulate on the basis of 3D CAD data. It is suitable for the industrial additive manufacturing of one-off parts and multi-variant small-volume batches and for individualising high-volume parts.

ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF)

Plastic parts created automatically from 3D CAD files
The globally unique APF process makes use of 3D CAD files, which are read in directly by the freeformer. After start-up, everything else takes place automatically. A clocked nozzle closure with piezo technology builds up the desired component layer-by-layer from minuscule plastic droplets.

Further animations
APF for several components

Personalised office scissors

Individualisation of moulded parts
Based on the example of a pair of office scissors, the flexible customisation of plastic products will be demonstrated by the combination of injection moulding using an ALLROUNDER and ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF) using the freeformer. The application also illustrates the topic of Industry 4.0.

At the injection moulding station, visitors will first be able to choose between different scissor versions. In order to enable flexible and fast product changes, human and robotic system work hand-in-hand. The handle of the scissors is moulded on by an electric ALLROUNDER and a DMC code is then applied by laser. The freeformer then adds individual lettering to the scissors. The data from the injection moulding process and additive manufacturing is recorded via the ARBURG host computer system (ALS) and transmitted to a web server. The relevant Internet page can then be called up by means of a DMC code using a mobile device.
to the moulded part

Fully automated single-unit batches

Linked: injection moulding and additive manufacturing
ARBURG has automated additive manufacturing and thereby implemented a fully IT-networked production line for the individualisation of high-volume parts using Industry 4.0 technology. A seven-axis robot links the ALLROUNDER injection moulding machine with the freeformer.

Once the ALLROUNDER has moulded plastic handles onto office scissors and a DM code has been applied by laser, the KUKA "iiwa" seven-axis robot removes the part together with the part carrier from the conveyor belt of the injection moulding cell. A scanner is used to identify the scissors via its individual code and the next production step is started. The robot handles the loading and unloading of the build chamber. The freeformer uses an additive process to apply an individual 3D geometry in plastic to the scissor handles. The result is a unique mass-produced item. Before the "iiwa" ejects the finished scissors, it subjects it to a final quality inspection.