Of everything that happened in the 3D printing industry last year, I think that it was the explosion of industrial applications for 3D printing technology that had the biggest impact on the industry as a whole. That expanding interest drove 3D printer sales to all time highs and it looks like that trend is set to continue into 2016. More businesses than ever finally began exploring how 3D printing could help their companies grow, and it has found a place in some very unexpected places. The versatility of 3D printing technology continues to be its most attractive asset as companies look for new ways to please their customers and give them the best options available.
Netherlands-based PWR Pack, a manufacturer of robotic food packaging, pick and place and portioning machines, just announced that with the adoption of 3D technology they will be expanding their production facilities. The company is set to offer their customers customized 3D printed robotic grippers and end effectors, as well as advanced intelligent vision systems that use 3D vision software for accurate automated packaging and quality control. With the new production facilities and 3D technology PWR Pack expects a dramatic increase in customer demand, so they will also be expanding their onsite technical team. Additionally they have brought in Alex Hofmann as the new sales manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as Andrea D’Amico as the new sales and marketing director.
PWR Pack debuted some of their new 3D technology at two candy and snack food conventions, ISM and ProSweets 2016, both held concurrently this week in Cologne, Germany. The star of their exhibition booth was PWR Pack’s latest pick and place system that was developed to handle pastries or confections that are delicate or have irregular shapes. It is just one of several packaging systems that uses their new 3D vision technology that can monitor products as they are being packed. The new technology provides customers not only with improved quality control, but packaging inspection, label placement and seal control.
“One of the challenges for our customers in the food manufacturing industry is the rising cost and availability of labour while price pressure on their products is still at a very high level. Smaller packs and single serve packaged food products as well as packaged food for consumption on the go is growing at a fast rate. This gives us more opportunities to develop high speed automated packaging technology that better fits our customers’ needs as these trends grow,” explained D’Amico.
The new 3D printed grippers and end effectors, also known as End-of-Arm Tooling, that PWR Pack will begin offering to their customers will allow them to customize packaging machines three times faster than using the traditional development process. Their 3D printed customer-specific gripper systems can be prototyped faster and more efficiently, while also making more complex gripper designs possible. Because the final parts are also 3D printed, the cost of replacing damaged or defective parts is far less, and replacements can be manufactured much faster. Not only do these 3D printed grippers cost less to develop and replace, but they result is less machine downtime, which can save companies thousands of dollars a day. Tell us your thoughts on these new systems in the PWR Pack Uses 3D Printing to Expand forum over at 3DPB.com.