New development: robot-assisted 3D-printing, cost savings of up to 80%

The newly developed 3D-printing process enables the resource-efficient, rapid and cost-saving manufacturing of highly rigid and functionalized moulds for the production of fibre reinforced composites in the dimensions of up to 1200mm x 2000mm x 1400mm.

Current state of the art: To manufacture moulds for the production of components made of fibre reinforced plastic like GFRP or CFRP, the desired shapes are milled from special and high-priced tooling board materials taking much time and causes a huge pile of wastage.

New – robot assisted 3D-printing at SMT: Our articulated robot is equipped with an extruder. This ensures that the plastic granulate is melted directly at the end of the robot wrist. The melted plastic is applied in layers by the robot at a maximum speed of 1000mm/s. At first, a near-net shaped mould is additively manufactured which will in a second step be milled to its final shape during a surface treatment process. That cuts the timeline dramatically, saves a lot of material and money.

Read more on this topic in an article of the current issue of Lausitz Magazin (autumn 2021, p. 106). The technology has been development in a collaborative project with the “Chair of Polymer-based Lightweight Design” at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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