Chinaplas: Hopper loader fabricated from PLA using 3D printing

The Somos Conradt from ProTec Polymer Processing is a compact hopper loader with an interesting background. The key components are 3D-printed from biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) resin.

Asia/Pacific Area Sales Manager Karin Luxem with the Somos Conradt hopper loader manufactured using 3D printing from PLA resin.

PLA resin is normally associated with a higher price compared with petroleum-based resins such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) but according to Manfred Horsch, Head of Sales at ProTec, it is the perfect resin for 3D printing. “ABS components end up being more expensive as they take double the printing time,” he notes. In all, 1.2 kg of PLA is used in the hopper loader, which can deliver material throughputs of up to 25 kg/hour over a vertical distance of 3 m.

The Somos Conradt is smaller and lighter than previous units. Modular in structure, it consists of few components which are very quick to assemble. Working by the Venturi principle, it was specifically developed for conveying masterbatches and free-flowing pellets and ideally suited to dosing and weighing applications.

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