New KraussMaffei powerPrint 3D Prints Parts up to 10 Cubic Meters in Size

Formnext Germany

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Injection molding giant KraussMaffei is set to launch a polymer 3D printer capable of producing large parts measuring 2 meters by 2.5 meters by 2 meters. The powerPrint, as the printer is called, utilizes granulate, resulting in cost savings for both users and the company. Leveraging its extensive knowledge of extrusion, KraussMaffei has optimized nozzle performance, thereby improving the quality of printed parts.

At an impressive rate of 30 kilos per hour, the powerPrint demonstrates high-speed printing capabilities. Simultaneously, the build chamber can be heated up to 350 °C to ensure optimal printing conditions. Notably, the printer features vacuum build plates and employs a crane to efficiently extract the printed parts. This intelligent and highly productive approach significantly enhances turnaround time.

Furthermore, users have the option to order parts directly from KraussMaffei, eliminating the need to invest in the printer themselves. When utilizing the printing-as-a-service option, the company not only provides assistance with design and application development but also takes care of post-processing. The company’s expertise extends to creating various tools, including a molding tool for vacuum infusion, a sand casting mold, and a charging column. The combination of these features makes the powerPrint a potentially exceptional and convenient solution for large-scale 3D printing projects.

“The powerPrint is ready to produce custom parts for the customer at the customer’s facility with the highest industry and quality standards,” said Rolf Mack, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at KraussMaffei.

A subsidiary of the world’s largest chemical company, ChemChina, KraussMaffei’s market entry into 3D printing is noteworthy, considering the company’s extensive background in extruders. Customers have the option to purchase a compounding plant from the company to produce their own granulate or a factory filling line for foam products. KraussMaffei is renowned for manufacturing incredibly durable products used in large-scale production, generating millions of parts. Their expertise extends to producing filaments for 3D printers and even pipes used in plumbing, leveraging their equipment to facilitate various applications.

The machine tool for polymers group at KraussMaffei is capitalizing on its vast experience to develop a highly productive, large-scale 3D printer. Achieving a reliable printing speed of 30 kilos per hour would be an impressive feat, setting a remarkable throughput standard. While some exceptionally large systems outperform the KraussMaffei printer, these components often require extensive post-printing machining to become functional. Nonetheless, the KraussMaffei printer’s potential productivity is compelling and holds great promise in the 3D printing industry.

3D printers developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as other large format machines, are specifically designed for aerospace applications, particularly super large tooling. They excel in 3D printing boat hulls, wings, and other exceptionally large components. The CEAD 3D printers and Caracol’s robot arm-based machines serve similar purposes, with Caracol operating as a service provider. On the other hand, BretonGinesi offers an enclosed hybrid 3D printer, resembling Center Street’s model.

Other printers like the screw-based CMS Kreator and Juggerbot‘s smaller system, which also utilizes pellets, occupy similar positions as the powerPrint. 3D Systems Titan, which also employs pellets, provides an enclosed solution and specializes in producing jigs and fixtures. Additionally, innovative approaches can be found, such as the Queen 3D printer, featuring a variable nozzle size but operating at a much lower chamber temperature compared to the latest KraussMaffei system. These diverse options cater to different needs within the realm of large-scale 3D printing, each offering distinct advantages for various applications.

The large- and medium-format 3D printing space has witnessed a surge of new entrants in recent years. A clear distinction emerges between the large-format systems, measuring over 2 meters in all directions, primarily targeting large tools, and the medium-format systems, which focus on jigs and fixtures. Interestingly, the powerPrint appears to straddle both segments in terms of size and applications, presenting a versatile option for customers.

The powerPrint’s ability to quickly produce components that require minimal milling may be its winning feature, striking a balance that appeals to a wide range of users. This strategic positioning could prove crucial in a competitive and increasingly crowded market. Introducing the printer as a service is a smart tactic that allows customers to get started promptly, while offering design assistance further expedites the onboarding process. As a whole, the large format 3D printing market is evolving rapidly, making it an exhilarating and dynamic time for the industry!

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