Arburg makes inroads with its Freeformer with new materials and software

Patric Kaisers and other APF experts - Freeformer User Day 2018

German injection moulding machinery maker Arburg says it has made progress in industrial additive manufacturing with its Freeformer machinery. This was relayed to around 40 experts in additive manufacturing from Germany, France, the UK and Switzerland who attended the Freeformer User Day 2018, which was held at Arburg's German headquarters in Lossburg recently. The focus was on the exchange of experience in the field of Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) with the Freeformer. Arburg's APF experts explained new hardware and software features and offered tips on additive manufacturing with the open system.

In four specialist presentations, the APF experts explained the progress they have made in industrial additive manufacturing with the Freeformer. Thus, for example, the updated slicing software, now available to all Freeformer customers free of charge as an update, was introduced. Interesting innovations include the "smart" automatic generation of a support structure adapted to the part, a filling speed adapted to the line length, a pressure-regulated strategy to improve the adhesion of the first layer to the base plate and many more features. Moreover, there is a redesigned, more user-friendly Freeformer control system interface, as well as optimised support structures and new or revised material profiles. Overall, the improvements lead to a very high level of process stability and part quality.

"We can already provide standard profiles for a number of materials, which can be used to produce functional components that have 100% the same mechanical properties as injection-moulded parts in the horizontal build orientation," explained Dr Agnes Kloke, Plastic Freeforming Technology Development at Arburg. The open system will of course continue to support the customer-specific adaptation of process parameters according to requirements.

The theory was followed by a practical demonstration

After the participants had received a theoretical introduction to material qualification and the current range of materials, the next step was to put what they had learned into practice. For this purpose, the guests worked together with the APF experts in five workshops. The task was to prepare the machine and materials, determine the optimum temperature and droplet geometry and then additively manufacture and analyse test parts. During these activities, there was ample opportunity for the participants to discuss their own tasks and challenges.

As part of the final discussions to round off the User Day, Dr Eberhard Duffner, Director Development and Plastic Freeforming, provided insights on the innovations that his development team is currently working on, with the current and planned further developments in hardware and software.


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