KraussMaffei Offers Additive Manufacturing and Surface Finishing From Single Source

One-offs in industrial production quality – the best way to achieve this is with 3D printing. To smooth the strand structure created in this process, objects are post-processed, for example, by milling. At KraussMaffei, the sites in Parsdorf (additive manufacturing) and Harderberg/ Georgsmarien-hütte (toolmaking) work together. The customer receives his complete component from a single source.

The powerPrint large-format printer can produce components with dimensions of up to 2 x 2.5 x 2 meters – either by purchasing such a printer or by using print on demand. KraussMaffei handles the entire project with this service, from data optimisation to the perfect surface.

When customers first asked Ender Murat Ferat (Project Engineer at Additive Manufacturing) in Parsdorf about this service, he did not immediately have his toolmaking colleagues in Harderberg in mind. No wonder, as they mainly work for the company’s reaction technology division and produce moulds for PUR processing, among other things

Ender Murat Ferat explained:
“We initially tried working with external milling companies, but working in-house is, of course, much more efficient, and you also retain the expertise,”

Once contact had been established between the sites, joint development began. In Harderberg, they had already been milling plastic and metal, but primarily material made from reol, a polyurethane or epoxy resin saturated with fillers in sheet and block form. Production Manager Stefan Springrose explains: “Our products include prototypes and leatherette models for the automotive industry.” Recycled PETG with 30 per cent glass fibre reinforcement will now be used for 3D printing.

Milling plastics requires different machines than metal ones, as the cutting process is more straightforward and involves more stock removal. For this reason, less powerful but highly dynamic devices are used to achieve the highest possible cutting speeds and fast production times. The tools used must be extremely sharp and require optimum chip removal. During tests with the glass fibre-reinforced PET, Thorsten Richter, team leader of the milling shop in Harderberg, even discovered “that diamond-coated milling cutters are necessary to withstand the abrasive material. This significantly reduces wear.” 

One project that Bavaria and Lower Saxony colleagues have already implemented is a sand-casting mould for pressure pads. For this process, a harmful mould is first produced, with which the actual sand mould is manufactured, which holds the liquid metal (iron, aluminium, etc.). The sand mould is destroyed during demolding, and the milled 3D body can be used repeatedly. Until now, ureol has usually been used for this. Despite the higher costs per kilo of raw material, additive manufacturing offers two decisive advantages: Firstly, the models are significantly more resistant to breakage, and secondly, you are independent of the standard dimensions of the fundamental blocks and plates. These usually do not correspond to the dimensions required for the project, so they must be glued together by hand to the required size. The associated labour costs can be saved if the 3D printer produces a blank that only needs to be built up where the end product requires material. This ultimately makes the 3D mould cheaper than its tangible counterpart despite the higher base price for the PETG.

The cooperation between additive manufacturing and toolmaking benefits both sides because each area can offer additional services. Print-on-demand customers receive their workpieces from a single source with a perfect finish, while existing customers of ureol models can use the more break-resistant PET GF30.

KraussMaffei is the only company manufacturing machines for all types of plastics processing – additive manufacturing, reaction process machinery, extrusion and injection moulding. Technical developments are driven forward in the know-how network.

Read more news from KraussMaffei here.

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