Polymer sinteringin custom mechanicalengineering

Our machines cannot yet print themselves. But on a smaller scale, prototypes printed on our own systems are being installed in them as well. And the trend is rising. An advantage that doesn’t require you to be a manufacturer of 3D printing systems to benefit from it.

In industrial machine engineering, one is often confronted with various challenges in the context of parts management. Particularly in a technology-driven environment characterized by short product and innovation cycles, smaller components whose critical importance only becomes apparent when they are not available are often missing during the development of new systems. Be it small brackets, connections or covers for machine components requiring protection. In the rarest of cases, the required component is ready when an initial machine prototype is being constructed.

Designing and placing orders for the production of such individual parts, e.g. via injection molding, often results in high tooling costs and long delivery times, since the production of an injection molding tool is usually only economically viable for quantities of several thousand or more. To avoid these delays and costs and to be able to execute projects according to schedule, 3D printing is particularly suitable.

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High Speed Prototypes - Polymer Sintering Makes It Possible

The best way to illustrate the use of technology for mechanical engineering is to take an example from our own company. As a technology-driven machine builder, our engineers encounter the above-mentioned problems again and again. Especially in the development phase of new 3D printers, such as our VX1000 HSS.

During the development and assembly of the first machine batches, our technicians and engineers repeatedly identified smaller components whose usefulness was essential for the full functionality of the system and were ideally suited for polymer 3D printing. These included sensor holders, print head covers and waveguides. In principle, components of this type could also be produced by injection molding, but this would not have been economically viable due to the number of parts required. For the experienced engineer, such components can be quickly designed with CAD programs, exported to a printable stl file and manufactured in PA12 using high-speed sintering.

Our High Speed Sintering (HSS) technology is a polymer sintering process that is ideally suited for the production of these components.  The data transfer to an HSS printing system is completed within minutes and the components can be ready for assembly the very next day. The material of choice for the components in this case was a classic polyamide 12 (PA12). Such responsiveness and flexibility is only possible via 3D printing. If the components do not fit exactly, or if potential for optimization becomes apparent during assembly, the data sets can be quickly adjusted and a batch of parts printed. The situation is similar should spare parts be needed.

It does not always need an own 3D printer

The advantage of using your own machines for such a purpose and having them in production just around the corner is obvious. But through our HSS on demand service, we can also offer such a service to our customers. Within a few days, the required components can be additively manufactured in PA12 in one of our HSS service centers and delivered globally. This results in enormous time and cost advantages compared to the conventional injection molding process. Advantages that offer a decisive competitive edge, especially in an industrial and innovation-driven environment.

Part prices start at €4 and are adjusted according to complexity and size.

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