Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Würth Additive Group Distributes Arburg Freeformer 3D Printer in North America

ST Medical Devices

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German injection molding firm Arburg is making its presence further known in North America. Its U.S. subsidiary Arburg Inc. has signed a deal with Würth Additive Group to distribute its Freeformer 3D printer in the U.S. and Canada, bringing Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) to the region and expanding its reach into the general manufacturing, oil & gas, heavy equipment and transportation industries.

APF is a unique technique by which standard injection molding pellets are processed using a piezoelectric screw to deposit individual droplets of polymer material at a rate of up to 200 droplets per second with a diameter of 0.2 and 0.4mm. By using commercially available pellets, the technology is open to a much wider array of materials that manufacturers are likely already accustomed to and may be used for mass production. Because filaments are substantially more expensive than injection molding pellets, this additionally reduces part costs significantly. Though not directly relevant here, the owners of Arburg recently acquired German RepRap, as well.

“The Freeformer and APF process allow us to open up completely new possibilities in the field of industrial additive manufacturing,” said AJ Strandquist, chief executive officer for Würth Additive Group. “Our customers will benefit from the adaptability of the Freeformer, as it is an open system and allows for maximum customization through an extensive materials database. Furthermore, APF process fills the gaps we previously had with customers who use material with additives. Now we can provide support in every avenue they need to be successful. The addition of Arburg’s Freeformer to our portfolio takes our AM service to a higher level.”

The Freeformer 300-3X and Freeformer 200-3X from Arburg. Image courtesy of Arburg.

The Würth Group is among Germany’s largest private companies. In 2019, it had annual revenues of €14.27 billion, over 78,000 employees and over 400 companies in 86 countries. The group sells a variety of goods, including fasteners, safety equipment, and maintenance repair and operational products.

The newly established Würth Additive Group bills itself as being a leader in “supply chain efficiency.” The division began in earnest with a partnership with Markforged, which saw the German firm selling all of the startup’s 3D printer models. Then, with oil giant Baker Hughes, the company initiated its plan to provide digital inventory services, to digitize and produce parts on demand with 3D printing. Now, it has added Arburg’s Freeformer 3D printers to its lineup.

“Thanks to its extensive expertise and high-quality portfolio, Würth Additive Group is a major player in the AM industry, making it an ideal partner to offer Arburg’s Freeformer technology,” said Friedrich Kanz, Managing Director of the Arburg subsidiary in the USA.

Gerry Berberian, National Sales Manager for Additive at ARBURG Inc. added: “We are pleased to work with Würth Additive to bring the breakthrough APF process to a wider community of manufacturers across the nation.”

This not only gives Würth Additive Group a unique selection of machines, as Markforged and Arburg’s equipment is unlike most other technology on the market, but it gives Arburg access to Würth’s large client base. If Baker Hughes counts among them, then the reach of Arburg into the oil sector could be substantial.

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