Attending Euromold this year for the second time, Arburg demonstrated the potential of Arburg Plastic Freeforming (AKF) for the industrial additive manufacturing of fully functional plastic parts with two Freeformers. The two Freeformers, equipped with a three-axis component carrier and two stationary discharge units showed how functional components can be additively manufactured from standard granulate based on 3D CAD data.
The second discharge unit makes it possible to produce parts in different colors, with special tactile qualities, or in a combination of materials. On one of the machines, a two-part sliding lock made of ABS and used in the company's Allrounder injection molding machines was being printed; on the other a small, flexible bellows made of standard elastic TPU material was being printed with the help of the newest Freeformer option: reversible supporting structures - a first in additive manufacturing. Possible applications include e.g. gaiters, hoses, sleeves, or flexible components for robotic grippers. The supporting structures can subsequently be removed in a water bath.
Another possibility is to build up a supporting structure in the same material as the component itself. A thinned out intermediate layer with specifically generated predetermined breaking points enables the structure to simply be broken off mechanically at a later stage.