Arburg has, with the release of its Freeformer additive manufacturing machine, become the only manufacturer to cover the entire spectrum from additive manufacturing to injection molding. It was the first plastics manufacturing company in the world to also produce its own 3D printing machine.
The Freeformer was announced for the first time at K 2013 with enough fanfare to merit a dramatic unveiling complete with an acrobat atop the machine; with Arburg beginning to take orders only a year later, it seems all the fanfare was well merited. The Freeformer took about a decade of development, and has a unit for discharge featuring a patented nozzle that opens and closes as often as 100 times per second. In doing so it deposits drops of liquid plastic to build up parts, layer-by-layer.
As of Fakuma 2014 (running October 14-18), orders for the German market are now being taken. These orders will be filled by March or April 2015, at which time Arburg will be expanding its availability to the rest of the world. Sales for the rest of Europe will follow those for Germany in April 2015, and after NPE 2015 in March sales will expand to the US, and after Chinaplas 2015 (May) to Asia.
The Freeformer’s uses are myriad, with customization in particular being showcased at Fakuma. Personalized scissors are available at Arburg’s booth, where the Freeformer is paired up with Arburg’s Allrounder 370 E injection molding machine. Visitors can use mobile devices to input their scissors’ parameters, using a personal web page via a code. After a scissor blank has had its handles molded on via the Allrounder, and had an identity code applied via laser, the Freeformer individually applies lettering to each pair of scissors. In about two minutes, the Freeformer applies individualized lettering at a layer height of 0.21 millimeters. The scissor demonstration shows Arburg’s integrated systems and the company’s ability to completely manufacture and personalize products, start to finish. With all this, the visitors get a great keepsake (available for both lefties and righties)!
Arburg expects to sell about 20 Freeformers, on a pilot basis, by the end of 2014, according to the company’s Managing Director of Technology and Engineering, Heinz Gaub. The company expects the UK to be among the markets with the highest growth potential for the Freeformer, along with China and the US.
“With our unique Freeformer, we have set a trend in the industry,” said Gaub. “The plastics world has evidently been waiting for the possibility of additively processing standard granulates.”
Using the Freeformer, especially in tandem with Arburg’s other technologies, plastic parts can be economically manufactured without molds. These one-off parts or small-volume batches are produced using CAD data sent to the Freeformer, which then uses standard, inexpensive granulate to build up the parts on a drop-by-drop process. Final products — not just prototypes or demo samples — can be created in this manner.The Freefomer is set to add a new dimension to plastics manufacturing — and with its introduction and new availability, Arburg has surely raised the bar to other plastics manufacturers. Let’s hear your thoughts on Arburg’s new machine. Discuss in the Freeformer forum thread on 3DPB.com.
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
Air Force Cloud One’s First 3D Printing and Advanced Manufacturing App Goes Live
Last week, the U.S. Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) Advanced Manufacturing Program Office (AMPO) officially went live with the Part Assessment and Cost Tool (PACT), the first advanced manufacturing...
Iowa Demolishes Its First 3D Printed Home
In May 2023, the city of Muscatine, Iowa embarked on an ambitious plan to construct 3D printed homes. The weekend before Thanksgiving, the first such home was demolished. 3D rendering...
3D Printing News Briefs, November 25, 2023: Housing, Seed Funding, & More
We’re starting with additive construction news in this Thanksgiving weekend edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, and then moving on to seed funding and a Memorandum of Understanding. Finally, we’ll...
Mighty Buildings to 3D Print Visitors Center alongside Buckminster Fuller’s Dome Home
Mighty Buildings, the Oakland-based additive construction (AC) firm specializing in prefabricated, climate-resilient homes, has partnered with the R. Buckminster Fuller Dome Home Not-For-Profit to 3D print a visitors center and...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.