The LOCI Podcar: A Fully 3D Printed Last-Mile Transportation Solution

Last-mile transportation solutions have quickly become a global sensation, filling in holes left by personal-vehicle focused urban planning. Unfortunately, present solutions have tended to lean on the expensive side, depending on traditional manufacturing for regular vehicle replacements, or are implemented inefficiently, inviting a wave of legislation banning eye-sore vehicles carelessly abandoned around city centers.

BigRep’s LOCI Podcar offers an effective, accessible and sustainable mobility solution as a fully 3D printed, autonomous electric last-mile transportation solution.

BigRep’s innovation consultancy, NOWLAB, who also created the NERA eMotorcycle – a fully 3D printed electric motorcycle and viral sensation – presented the LOCI at Formnext 2019 as a design prototype. The 100% 3D printed podcar tackles transportation challenges at a local level, offering effective adaptability for any application in any country around the world instead of a globally cut and pasted solution.

To emphasize the LOCI’s adaptability, BigRep presented the prototype along with two additional redesign concepts: the physical prototype on the show floor a campus transportation vehicle created for Berlin, with concepts for a Dubai airport transportation vehicle and a San Francisco urban commuter solution.

Because it’s a fully 3D printed solution, the manufacturing of LOCI Podcar’s is local, accessible and scalable. Production of the podcars can begin with a single BigRep large-format 3D printer and scale with additional units to meet demand as it increases. Not only does this ensure both a low barrier to entry and that manufacturing infrastructure isn’t overinvested in prematurely but also that production can be highly reactive and delivered with unprecedented speed.

BigRep is no stranger to additive applications in the automotive industry. Having already partnered with Ford Motor Company to develop additive applications on the assembly line, we’ve found incredible results in speeding production processes, testing, and more with additive on the production floor. Ford has participated in the development cycle of the BigRep PRO, providing feedback and request from their experience with large-format additive to help create the best industrial additive manufacturing system on the market for demanding applications like automotive.



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Because of the LOCI’s adaptability, it’s highly functional in last-mile consumer applications and an enticing investment for businesses. Aside from typical last-mile functions like campus, airport and commuter transportation, BigRep’s vision for the LOCI includes highly practical scenarios like grocery delivery – allowing shoppers to easily forgo their combustion-engine vehicles in favor of an accessible electric vehicle readily offered by businesses.

Both additive manufacturing and local production are also promising features for the vehicle’s maintenance. The LOCI Podcar takes advantage of these opportunities for efficient vehicle upkeep with new BigRep Part DNA™ technology, which involves embedding NFC chips into 3D printed parts as an identification resource. The chips are scanned with any compatible device to instantly identify parts and request replacements or remodels. In the future, the chips will be integrated with sensors to monitor part status and provide maintenance or replacement information sometimes before users are aware a replacement is necessary – simply scan the part and order a replacement locally.

The LOCI prototype is built with just 14 unique parts and measures just 85cm x 146cm x 285cm, with the largest single part measuring 1000 x 600 x 700 mm. All parts were printed with a BigRep PRO, BigRep Studio G2, or BigRep ONE additive system. The podcar showcases the possibilities of 3D printing and engineering-grade filaments for industrial manufacturing: The body was printed with BigRep’s PRO HT, for the airless tires designers opted for TPU, the bumpers were created with PLX, and beams and joints with PA6/66. All these materials are opensource, compatible with any matching diameter FFF 3D printer (including desktop) and available for purchase through BigRep’s Online Shop.


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The LOCI is just the most recent of BigRep’s incredible innovations with additive technology. Find out about other incredible 3D printing achievements from NOWLABS, BigRep’s innovation consultancy, on the BigRep website.

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The LOCI Podcar - a fully 3D printed last-mile electric vehicle

LOCI at a glance

Technical Specs:

  • Overall Dimensions: 85cm x 146cm x 285cm
  • Number of parts: 14 main parts with additional inserts
  • Largest part: 1000 x 600 x 700 mm
  • Printed with BigRep PRO, BigRep Studio G2, BigRep ONE

Print Materials: Body: PRO HT / Tires: TPU / Bumpers: PLX / Beams and Joints: PA6/66

Additional Features:

  • Electric power / Touch screen media display
  • Surround sound audio / Wireless phone/device charging / LED lighting / TPU airless tires
  • BigRep Part DNA™ technology

Team Credits:

Co-Founder NOWLAB, BigRep CIO: Daniel Buening
Lead Designer: Marco Mattia Cristofori
Design Team: Mirek Claßen, Lindsay Lawson, Tobias Storz, Angelo Vannicola, Marco Backenhaus
Marketing and Creative: Amir Fattal
San Francisco and Dubai Concept Design: Marco Traverso

About BigRep
BigRep develops the world’s largest serial production 3D printers, creating the industry benchmark for large-scale printing with the aim to reshape manufacturing. Its award-winning, German-engineered machines are establishing new standards in speed, reliability and efficiency. BigRep’s printers are the preferred choice of engineers, designers and manufacturers at leading companies in the industrial, automotive and aerospace sectors. Through collaborations with its strategic partners – including Bosch Rexroth, Etihad Airways and Deutsche Bahn – and key investors – including BASF, Koehler, Klöckner and Körber – BigRep continues to develop complete solutions for integrated additive manufacturing systems, as well as a wide range of printing materials on an open-choice source. Founded in 2014, BigRep is headquartered in Berlin with offices in Boston and Singapore. Leading the way in one of the world’s key technologies, our multinational engineering teams are highly trained, interdisciplinary and customer-focused.

For additional information, please contact:
To arrange an interview with BigRep’s executive management or NOWLAB team, and for more information on BigRep and its solutions, please contact:
Jürgen Scheunemann
PR & Communications BigRep GmbH
T: +49 30 9487 1430
E: [email protected]

Digital Solutions Empowering Production: BigRep Showcases Industrial AM’s Powerful Applications at Formnext 2019

Berlin/Frankfurt am Main, 19 November 2019 - BigRep, the global leader in large-scale 3D printing and additive solutions, today at formnext, the world's leading exhibition for additive manufacturing, unveiled a fully 3D printed, autonomous electric podcar, LOCI. The groundbreaking design prototype presented is an exciting showcase for a whole range of industrial applications in Additive Manufacturing (AM) today – from rapid prototyping and design to functional end-use transportation created by large-format 3D printers with engineering-grade materials.

LOCI: The 3D-printed evolution of personalized, sustainable mobility

Taking center stage at formnext, the LOCI prototype is a fully 3D printed autonomous electric podcar, specifically designed as a “last mile transportation solution” in urban environments: airport and train station departures, daily work commutes, campus transport, and local deliveries. LOCI has been envisioned and designed by NOWLAB, the innovation consultancy at BigRep.

“LOCI is more than a vehicle, it’s the evolution of personalized mobility,” said NOWLAB co-founder and BigRep CIO Daniel Buening. “LOCI is an affordable solution for urban transportation, harnessing the agility of AM while also demonstrating the cost-efficient advantages of 3D printing for sustainable AM such as manufacturing personalized products on-site and on-demand.”

Thanks to the flexibility of Additive Manufacturing, unique prototypes or small batches of LOCI can be locally produced on demand without added costs, supplier dependence or long lead times. This eliminates the need for large warehouses and remote production facilities while simplifying logistics and reducing transport. All of this leads to a more sustainable AM production process. Production volumes can be easily upscaled with a fleet of BigRep printers.

Developed using parametric modeling, LOCI utilizes the full potential of AM and its limitless flexibility. The podcar’s design can be easily customized for a given location or application; adjusting handling purpose, materials, structural properties, special tires for different terrains, custom branding, and integrated solar power.

BigRep at Formnext 2019

In fact, the formnext showcase captures three different LOCI iterations: The Berlin LOCI model presented is a single-person campus commuter with a sleek design, touch screen media display, surround sound audio, wireless phone/device charging, integrated LED lighting, TPU airless tires, and embedded BigRep Part DNA technology. The San Francisco LOCI is a render concept version for urban commuting. Its narrow body can maneuver in traffic, a single right-side door lifts up to cover exiting passengers from rain, and it has two passenger seats. Finally, the Dubai LOCI is a render concept version for airport transportation with a high-end luxury feel, solar panels, space for luggage, and rugged tires for desert weather.

LOCI’s BigRep Part DNA™ technology is based on NFC chips embedded into the 3D printed parts. This chip can be scanned using a mobile device to identify the part. In the future it can be additionally integrated with sensors to monitor part status and provide maintenance or replacement information – simply scan the part and print a replacement.

Built with just 14 unique parts, LOCI measures 85cm x 146cm x 285cm, with the largest part measuring 1000 x 600 x 700 mm. All parts were printed with a BigRep PRO, BigRep Studio G2, or BigRep ONE additive system. The pod showcases the possibilities of 3D printing and engineering-grade filaments for industrial manufacturing: The body was printed with BigRep’s PRO HT, for the airless tires designers opted for TPU, the bumpers were created with PLX, and beams and joints with PA6/66.

Industrial 3D-printed prototypes: Making manufacturing more efficient

In addition to LOCI, BigRep will also present a set of fully 3D-printed prototypes for industrial applications, developed by NOWLAB in cooperation with its industry partners and presenting cost- and time-efficient innovations for Industry 4.0 manufacturing.

The factory of the future requires great flexibility to manufacture customized products and small batches. The NEXT AGV (autonomous guided vehicle), an autonomous transport system, developed by BigRep and Bosch Rexroth, are integral to agile, smart production. Contrary to traditional sheet metal molding, the 3D printed Next AGV is manufactured much more efficiently. The base framework of core elements (battery and electronics)  are enclosed in a 3D-printed shell that can be easily adapted for flexible industrial applications. Powered by an inductive energy unit running on a power grid, the NEXT AGV can serve as an automated logistics carrier with a load capacity of up to 250 kg. Tools and additional devices such as robots can be mounted onto the platform.

Other key elements of the NEXT AGV are special 3D-printed wheels with two different materials, allowing the platform to perform sideways movements, and an integrated safety feature (Human Detection Antenna), which has also been 3D-printed.

Another BigRep prototype is the AIRBUS Investment Shipping Case, a fully 3D-printed solution for delicate equipment transportation. High-quality cases must be certified to transport sensitive equipment, such as aerospace imaging cameras, when they break down or otherwise require maintenance. Traditionally, these are individually manufactured by hand at only a few sites around the world, making their availability and delivery an issue threatening quality and workflow: As a result, wait lists for the containers often exceed two years. BigRep created their solution by designing a template that uses a data-driven process to quickly generate the final, unique design of each container on demand. The cases take advantage of the versatile, dynamic qualities of BigRep’s TPU filament, an engineering- grade material that is firm when printed in a thick wall but soft and flexible in thinner compositions – making it highly shock-absorbent. It also enabled a design that can be manufactured as a single piece in an automated process. As a result, the full design and manufacturing process can be reduced to just 60 hours, greatly optimizing the supply chain.

Saving costs: Retrofitted airline seat becomes 3D-printed high-tech comfort

A game-changing prototype presented is BigRep’s Retro Seat, an original airline seat frame that has been refurbished with AM at NOWLAB and developed in collaboration with Dassault Systèmes, using their 3DEXPERIENCE platform and the industry solution experience “Passenger Experience.” The Retro Seat is 50 percent lighter than a traditional airline seat, creating huge benefits for sustainable aircraft engineering and operational costs. The prototype has a fully integrated design, i.e. any bearings or desired electronics, such as inductive charging for wireless smart phone charging, can be integrated during the printing process. The back of the seat’s headrest is equipped with both a “Bring your own device” outlet for tablets or other devices and multiple USB ports for passenger convenience. Additionally, the seat offers embedded blue LED light panels for setting the right mood during night flights and the arm rest is equipped with a smart cabinet solution to safely store laptops during take off and landing.

For more information on BigRep’s debut of new products and technologies, please visit its formnext booth (hall 12.1 / C121, Nov. 19-22)

LOCI at a glance

Technical Specs:

  • Overall Dimensions: 85cm x 146cm x 285cm
  • Number of parts: 14 main parts with additional inserts
  • Largest part: 1000 x 600 x 700 mm
  • Printed with BigRep PRO, BigRep Studio G2, BigRep ONE

Print Materials: Body: PRO HT / Tires: TPU / Bumpers: PLX / Beams and Joints: PA6/66

Additional Features:

  • Electric power / Touch screen media display
  • Surround sound audio / Wireless phone/device charging / LED lighting / TPU airless tires
  • BigRep Part DNA™ technology

Team Credits:

Co-Founder NOWLAB, BigRep CIO: Daniel Buening
Lead Designer: Marco Mattia Cristofori
Design Team: Mirek Claßen, Lindsay Lawson, Tobias Storz, Angelo Vannicola, Marco Backenhaus
Marketing and Creative: Amir Fattal
San Francisco and Dubai Concept Design: Marco Traverso

About BigRep
BigRep develops the world’s largest serial production 3D printers, creating the industry benchmark for large-scale printing with the aim to reshape manufacturing. Its award-winning, German-engineered machines are establishing new standards in speed, reliability and efficiency. BigRep’s printers are the preferred choice of engineers, designers and manufacturers at leading companies in the industrial, automotive and aerospace sectors. Through collaborations with its strategic partners – including Bosch Rexroth, Etihad Airways and Deutsche Bahn – and key investors – including BASF, Koehler, Klöckner and Körber – BigRep continues to develop complete solutions for integrated additive manufacturing systems, as well as a wide range of printing materials on an open-choice source. Founded in 2014, BigRep is headquartered in Berlin with offices in Boston and Singapore. Leading the way in one of the world’s key technologies, our multinational engineering teams are highly trained, interdisciplinary and customer-focused.

For additional information, please contact:
To arrange an interview with BigRep’s executive management or NOWLAB team, and for more information on BigRep and its solutions, please contact:
Jürgen Scheunemann
PR & Communications BigRep GmbH
T: +49 30 9487 1430
E: [email protected]

The GENESIS Eco Screen – How BigRep is making cities greener with 3D printed urban ecosystems

BigRep’s latest innovation is tackling some of the world’s biggest environmental challenges. Plastic recycling, wasted water, and rapidly deteriorating biodiversity in urban settings are being fought with a groundbreaking prototype in urban architecture: the GENESIS Eco Screen.

The GENESIS Eco Screen: a fully 3D printed urban ecosystem

The GENESIS, a fully 3D printed urban biodiversity habitat, was designed by Lindsay Lawson, an Applications Specialist at NOWLAB, BigRep’s innovation consultancy. The GENESIS Eco Screen takes advantage of solar radiation analysis for agent-based modeling and parametric design to create a computer-generated final product with unique characteristics specific to its environment. The design process ensures that each GENESIS iteration has ideal placement for its plants, insect habitats, and embedded channels for water flow and drainage for the setting it will be installed in.

Measuring an impressive 4 by 4 meters, the GENESIS Eco Screen is printed with BigRep PETG filament and BASF Innofil3D rPET made of 100% recycled PET on four large-format BigRep ONE printers. It is installed in Berlin, Germany at Invalidenstraße 86 where Germany’s Federal Center of Excellence for the Cultural and Creative Industries (Kompetenzzentrum Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft) hosted Fiction Forum on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Fiction-Forum001

Created to demonstrate the environmental opportunities presented by additive manufacturing technology, the GENESIS highlights circular economy solutions to abundant plastic waste. Aimed at minimizing waste by closing the gap between resource input, waste, emissions and energy usage, circular economy is an important concept to reduce raw material consumption and divert useful materials from landfills. At Fiction Forum, where the GENESIS was printed live throughout August in Thaersaal, the active BigRep ONE printers were displayed with a Dual Axel Shredder, designed by Raw Paradise, to underscore the 100% recycled rPET filament being used and the potential for additive projects made using common PET waste.

Daniel Büning, a fellow of the Kompetenzzentrum and NOWLAB’s Managing Director, lauded the innovation saying, “disruptive technologies such as 3D printing are key to solving some of the world’s biggest problems. The GENESIS Eco Screen shows how society can develop a greener future – with circular economy solutions that are sustainable, local, modular and collaborative.”


Find out about the incredible large-format filaments
that make NOWLAB's innovations possible.

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The GENESIS ECO SCREEN at a glance:
Dimensions: 4000 x 4000 x 300 mm, made of 16 segments
Materials: BigRep PETG and Innofil3D recycled rPET
Team: Daniel Büning, BigRep CIO and NOWLAB Co-Founder
Project Lead: Lindsay Lawson

World-First Airless Motorcycle Tires, Featured on the BigRep NERA eBike

3D printed airless tire NERA eBike

An investment in new technology should do more than provide a business with an immediate boost to productivity and capability. It should promise a capacity for future applications as soon as they inevitably arise. It’s a simple consideration, but it could prevent unnecessary future investments and establish an early edge in new applications.

BigRep is dedicated to pushing its technology to the limit internally with our innovation consultancy agency, NOWLAB, to ensure our reliable large-format 3D printers can handle the wealth of future-applications that regularly become realities. NOWLAB designs and creates future-ready products to inspire and aid businesses developing their own innovations around the world. Through their work, NOWLAB dispels many of the assumed limitations of additive technology and demonstrate how an investment in additive manufacturing can not only meet businesses needs today, but open doors in the future.

Last week, BigRep was proud to win best Creative Use of 3D Printing at the 3D Printing Industry Awards for NOWLAB’s NERA eBike, the world’s first fully 3D printed e-motorcycle. The NERA was unveiled on November 13, 2018 at Formnext and it went viral! But one impressive innovation integral to the NERA can be easily overlooked: the crucial, fully 3D printed airless tires and rims.

Airless Tires Breaching the Consumer Market

Lead NERA designer, Marco Mattia Cristofori, poses with the innovative eBike.
Lead NERA designer, Marco Mattia Cristofori, poses with the innovative eBike.

Michelin and General Motors recently unveiled their brand-new 3D printed Uptis airless tire prototype at the at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility. They announced research plans to validate the design and introduce it to the consumer market as early as 2024. Michelin says the tires will combat the waste generated by the approximately 200 million rubber tires that are prematurely disposed of every year due to damage from puncture, improper air pressure and other common forms of wear.

Michelin and General Motors’ announcement is the most recent in a long line of airless tires releases, but it does mark a divergence from applications focused on lighter or slower vehicles – like all terrain vehicles or tractors – by brands like Goodyear, Bridgestone, and Hankook.

Airless tires require careful consideration from design teams to ensure the safety requirements of a vehicle’s wheels are met. Factors from weight resistance to surface grip and a variety of associated properties need to be carefully balanced to ensure such an unconventional component will work in the demanding conditions of the real world. When designing the NERA’s airless tires and rims, project lead Marco Mattia Cristofori and NOWLAB’s design team needed to consider the appropriate balance of rigidity and flexibility with respect to both components to ensure their safety and functionality. The end-use materials had to be rigid enough to keep its form but flexible enough to have shock absorbing traits on obstructed terrain.

The design goal extended beyond simple functionality, however. Airless tires have functionally existed in niche applications, like space vehicles, for years. Since NOWLAB set out with the NERA project to demonstrate realistic consumer market item, the aesthetic of the airless tire and rim had to be considered – adding an extra layer of difficulty to the product’s design.

“We realized that large-format additive manufacturing and airless tires are a powerful combination,” said Cristofori. “Full customizability is necessary to adapt different design parameters, and with additive the same machine can produce different scales, patterns and other customizations without changing settings or hardware parameters.”

NOWLAB's 3D Printed Airless Tire Design Process

3D printed airless tire NERA eBike
A 3D printed airless tire is placed into the NERA eBike.

NOWLAB dove into designing the airless tire's internal structure by considering biomimicry engineering. A strategy in many NOWLAB projects, biomimicry makes use of functional designs found in nature to create similar properties in human-designed products. In the case of NERA’s tires, a honeycomb design was chosen to provide the tire internal stability for its efficiency in balancing the required rigidity and flexibility. The geometry proved strong enough to take full advantage of a flexible material, BigRep’s TPU filament, which has proven capable of keeping shape under weight with the chosen geometry but maintains its properties well enough to mimic the soft function of a traditional tire.

After choosing the honeycomb pattern that would be the design’s basis, the team needed to ensure the product’s overall properties would meet their needs. Mirek Claßen, NOWLAB Head of Innovation and Generative Design Applications, helped apply algorithm-based parametric design to ensure the tire would meet its requirements for the specific customized range of weight-resistance and size that was needed for its function on the NERA, a process that also ensures the airless tire is easily adaptable for future applications with different functional requirements.

“Combining the possibilities of generative and parametric design allowed us to unlock the full potential of large-format 3D printing,” said Claßen. “Within our algorithm-based design model we could iterate unlimited design variations to find the perfect version to suit our needs and fulfill all technical requirements.”

Both the NERA’s airless tires and rims are fully 3D printed, demonstrating the functional and impressive ability of BigRep’s TPU and Pro HT materials to withstand a vehicle and driver’s weight. BigRep’s NERA was designed to hold passengers over 110 kilograms, but the design can be altered to support even more weight for heavier vehicles or heavier loads like multiple passengers.

Pro HT was an apt choice for the NERA’s rims for the same reason TPU was suited for the tire – it has the perfect balance of rigidity and flexibility for its application. Overall the rims require far more rigidity than the rubber-like tires, of course, but striking a balance ensures the rims remains solid and sturdy but aren’t so brittle as to crack under weight. The material’s marginal flexibility also adds an amount of shock absorption to the wheels, making for a smoother ride.

Beyond the airless tires, BigRep’s materials like TPU allowed for embedded functionalities in a unique way. The NERA’s bumper, seat and handles were all printed with TPU to fulfill functions that usually require complex mechanical constructions like hydraulic suspension systems.

Market-Viability of Airless Tires

3d printed e-bike
NERA eBike parts printed with BigRep's TPU filament.

To the average consumer airless tires might seem like a novelty, but beyond the innovation’s charm and environmental benefits there are practical applications that extend beyond the niche uses observed so far. For one, an average rubber tire weighs about 10 kilograms whereas the NERA’s 3D printed airless tires only weigh six kilograms, a 40% weight reduction. Complicated supply chains can make acquiring new tires an expensive challenge in remote locations, but with access to a large-format 3D printer the tires can be created locally without the costs and environmental impact of shipping.

Most concerning for the average consumer, however, is the durability and additional safety the technology provides. Removing the need for air-filled tires eliminates the risk of blow-outs that can create dangerous scenarios on the road. The exponentially improved durability of airless tires also eliminates the egregious expenses associated with regular tire changes, not to mention the fuel-economy that comes with a significantly reduced vehicle weight. Overall, airless tires on the consumer market would be a joyful innovation for all concerned.

“Coming out with the idea was pretty natural,” said Cristofori. “We researched the possibility of airless tires, read about what exists so far and their future potential. It was absurd to us that no one else had 3D printed one for bicycles or motorcycles before.”

As vehicles rapidly evolve to meet modern environmental requirements, now is the time to rethink every aspect from the ground up to redevelop everyday technology with the modern tools that enable novel designs and processes. BigRep understands the importance of the re-thinking process to innovative designers and industrial manufacturers. By taking on inspirational projects like the NERA eBike, NOWLAB not only proves the prowess of BigRep’s large-format additive technology but also gains the expertise to consult on innovations even before they’re fully realized by prominent manufacturers; ensuring our tools and training position our partners for success.

“We're happy to see that we inspired other companies,” Cristofori added. “That’s what we do at BigRep. Besides producing reliable 3D printers, we innovate and make sure their full capabilities can be taken advantage of. We research and develop innovations to inspire while we are also inspired by others.”

How can our consultancy for design and 3D printing benefit your business?

BANYAN Eco Wall – The World’s First Fully 3D Printed, Irrigated Green Wall

BigRep is proud to present the BANYAN Eco Wall, the world’s first fully additively manufactured (AM) green wall with naturally integrated drainage and irrigation systems. The prototype features unprecedented innovations in design, functionality, technology and size, made possible with the BigRep ONE’s large-format additive printing process.

Designed at NOWLAB, BigRep’s innovation consultancy, by Mirek Claßen, Tobias Storz and Lindsay Lawson, the project features liquid channels that have been integrated into the manufacturing process. Similar vertical-farm structures have required channels to be manually embedded into the design in a complicated process after manufacturing with metal piping and a variety of other parts. The BANYAN, on the other hand, is 3D printed with internal channels included in the design. This allows for ultimate design freedom, as the eco wall’s structure doesn’t need to be planned around the available materials to create channels in post-production. These drainage systems are vital for the proper function of the integrated irrigation system, as excess water must be removed.

Irrigation systems, implemented to provide a controlled supply of water at requisite intervals, ensure the unique needs of plants and crops are met without the need for human intervention. Systems such as this inspire interior designers and architects developing a greener future – from home or workspace plant walls and green facades to vertical gardens and other forms of urban farming.

<a style = "font-weight: bold; color: #E7E7E7"  href="/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Eco_Wall-drip2.jpg" download><i class="fa fa-download"></i> Download </a>

Inspired by the multipurpose properties of plants’ root, steam and leave systems, the design of the BANYAN Eco Wall takes advantage of biomimicry design to create a structure that simultaneously functions as a support structure and water supply system. Its bionic design, measuring 2000 x 2000 x 600 mm, goes beyond aesthetics to be structurally optimized with plant carriers that easily and organically snap into place. The small internal channels are designed for optimal water flow and feature an integrated “micro shower” mechanism to irrigate plants precisely where needed.

“Our BANYAN Eco Wall is adopting nature’s principle with a complex, smart, and elegant design only achievable with AM. Traditional technologies such as milling or injection molding cannot deliver this level of complexity and dual functionality,” explains BigRep CEO Stephan Beyer, PhD. “For the first time, thanks to AM and advanced CAD software, it is now possible to create complex functional designs within a fully digitized process chain.”

BigRep CIO and NOWLAB Managing Director Daniel Büning adds, “Generative design software was crucial in the creation of the BANYAN Eco Wall to optimize the structure for printability and stability while allowing a rapid iterative design process. This prototype will push the boundaries of AM not only in irrigated plant systems, such as in vertical farming and green facades, but for any application requiring embedded functionalities.”



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The BANYAN ECO WALL at a glance:
Dimensions: 2000 x 2000 x 600 mm, made up of 4 segments
Materials: BigRep Berliner Weisse Pur PETG for overall structure; BigRep Black PRO HT for planters
Team: Daniel Büning, BigRep CIO and NOWLAB Co-Founder
Lead Designers – Mirek Claßen, Tobias Storz, Lindsay Lawson

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Omni Platform by NOWLAB

NOWLAB, the Innovation Consultancy at BigRep, developed the innovative Omni Platform as a 360° mobile industry platform for highly flexible applications in automated manufacturing environments and smart factories.

The Omni Platform gets its name due to its mecanum wheels, which are omni-directional wheels, meaning they can move the platform in any direction without turning. The mecanum wheels are wheel hubs fitted with integrated rollers that move passively and independently. Depending on which wheels rotate in which direction, the platform will move forward, backward, sideways, diagonally, or spin in place. This range of maneuverability enables the Omni Platform to efficiently navigate any space, particularly around tight corners, narrow lanes, and complex pathways.

Omni Platform by NOWLAB the Innovation Consultancy at BigRep

The benefit of 3D printing, including this case of the Omni Platform, is that it is 100% customizable to your specific needs. The body of the Omni Platform features a bionic design, intelligently modeled for strength and durability. It has an impressive load capacity of up to 200 kg and a load area of 100 by 80 cm. While this Omni Platform is an automated logistics carrier fitted with an acrylic top plate so that it can carry any number of objects, it can also serve as a platform for additional devices such as robots, for example, to be mounted.

wheel-web

The 3D-printed platform has a fully integrated design, i.e. any bearings or electronics can be integrated during the printing process. The Omni Platform has a controller and battery housed in a customized 3D printed “heart” as well as integrated motors, transition belts, gears, and programmable LEDs.

The Omni Platform was printed on a BigRep ONE with an impressive build volume of one cubic meter. Therefore, the platform body could be printed as a single part. For this, BigRep’s Pro HT material was used because it is durable, reliable, and produces beautiful quality prints. The mecanum wheel rollers were printed with BigRep’s Pro Flex, a flexible and robust TPU material that ensures better grip and smoother rolling.



Find out how industry leaders are using BigRep 3D printers to create affordable and secure investment shipping containers on demand for sensitive aerospace equipment in our case study with Airbus:
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Omni-Platform-Diagram-web

NOWLAB works to make the most advanced, innovative, and yet unseen applications and technological solutions in the additive manufacturing domain. The Omni Platform is designed to seamlessly integrate into in the factory of the future, helping to automate and accelerate production in Industry 4.0.

About BigRep
BigRep develops the world’s largest serial production 3D printers, creating the industry benchmark for large-scale printing with the aim to reshape manufacturing. Its award-winning, German-engineered machines are establishing new standards in speed, reliability and efficiency. BigRep’s printers are the preferred choice of engineers, designers and manufacturers at leading companies in the industrial, automotive and aerospace sectors. Through collaborations with its strategic partners – including Bosch Rexroth, Etihad Airways and Deutsche Bahn – and key investors – including BASF, Koehler, Klöckner and Körber – BigRep continues to develop complete solutions for integrated additive manufacturing systems, as well as a wide range of printing materials on an open-choice source. Founded in 2014, BigRep is headquartered in Berlin with offices in Boston and Singapore. Leading the way in one of the world’s key technologies, our multinational engineering teams are highly trained, interdisciplinary and customer-focused.

For additional information, please contact:
To arrange an interview with BigRep’s executive management or NOWLAB team, and for more information on BigRep and its solutions, please contact:
Jürgen Scheunemann
PR & Communications BigRep GmbH
T: +49 30 9487 1430
E: [email protected]

A deeper look into NERA – the world´s first fully 3D printed E-Bike by NOWLAB

NERA 3d printed e-bike

BigRep unveiled the NERA E-Motorcycle on November 13, 2018 at Formnext and it went viral!

Now let’s take a deeper look at how the world’s first fully 3D-printed electric motorcycle came to be.
Only 12 weeks from sketch to final product at the BigRep headquarters, NERA took its maiden voyage in Berlin.

Changing the Industry - the NERA E-Bike

NOWLAB Co-Founder & Managing Director Daniel Büning started with an idea: create a functional prototype that revolutionizes mobility.

Let´s look at the complexity of the process:

With Marco Mattia Cristofori in the design lead, we engineered NERA e-Bike from the ground up, disrupting traditional design, engineering and production in every aspect. The result is a 100-percent, customizable, functional prototype, designed and produced with more time- and cost- efficiency than previously imaginable.

In building NERA, our designers and engineers didn’t simply adapt existing motorcycle designs; instead they envisioned a bike designed for large-format FFF technology, setting a benchmark for truly creative design and breaking the limits of traditional mindsets.

To hear more about the design process behind the NERA, watch our OnDemand webinar Optimize your Design Process with 3D Printing hosted by Daniel Büning, BigRep's Chief Innovation Officer and one of the NERA's creators:

Watch the webinar

In the following examples, we show how additive manufacturing technologies disrupt existing possibilities:

  • Ideation: First, we worked on the basic bike aesthetics. From the basic mechanical functionality to a unique design language, we started sketching in five design iterations.
    3D printing changes the perception of design language and allows total freedom in terms of design: bionic, organic, edgy – any designs are only one thought from reality.
  • FFF-based Design: We ideate especially for the FFF technology with its unique possibilities: design and functionalities are exclusively FFF-based and don`t work with any other production technology. Prototyping for standard manufacturing methods has extremely limited design possibilities when it comes to mechanical functions, as well as to the design language of objects.
3d printed e-bike
The low polygon/ stealth design of the outter shell avoids top layer.
  • Design process: First, we arrange the functionally relevant core parts, then design the outer shell translating the chosen design language into the functional parts. We decided to pursue a low polygon/ stealth design language, which allowed us to avoid top layers that can be a weakness of FFF printing.
  • Embedded Electronics: Battery, motor, cable and control systems are not printed. The motor is electric since traditional combustion engines cannot be embedded in polymer objects. The electronics can be adjusted individually and are integrated as a modular system that allows individual settings.
3D printed e-bike - The non 3D printed parts
Battery, motor, cable and control systems are not 3D printed.
  • Materials: NERA is printed with BigRep Pro Flex, BigRep ProHT, BigRep PLA, and BigRep PETG materials. While we use ProHT for rigid parts, PLA for color details and PETG for the light reflectors, Pro Flex allows us to embed functionalities in a unique way. Tires, bumper, seat and handles are printed with the flexible material and fulfill functions that usually require complex mechanical constructions such as hydraulic, shock absorbing suspension systems.
    The strength and elasticity of the material allowed us to come up with completely new design approaches that replace the traditional mechanical components. A horizontally embedded Pro Flex suspensor with honeycomb structure, for example, replaces a traditional hydraulic system integrated in metal fork steering systems for motorcycles.
  • Forkless steering: Instead of a fork steering, NERA has eight pivot points, clamping vertically instead of assembling the fork to rotate the wheel on a horizontal axis.
  • Print parameters: Our design team used 12 percent infill almost everywhere. This was determined by testing several small portions and then determining that 12 percent is the perfect fit for structural stability.
3d printed e-bike
NERA eBike parts printed with BigRep's TPU filament.

In total, the design features include 15 fully printed parts:

  • Fully-functional, full-scale 3D printed prototype
  • All parts printed with BigRep printers (except electronics), including body, rims, tires, steering, seat, headlight and shocks
  • Flexible parametric bumper replaces suspension as a shock absorber
  • Custom-fitted seat and chest rest printed with flexible thermoplastic
  • Airless tires with customized tread printed with flexible thermoplastic
  • Front tire has an arch structure for a softer, smoother ride
  • Back tire has a stronger hexagonal structure for load-bearing parts

More than just an exercise in what can be achieved with 3D printing – and specifically FFF printing with BigRep technology – the NERA shows that the low cost and fast results of additive manufacturing allow designers to immediately test prototypes and rapidly produce iterations of experimental engineering. The NERA also illustrates the massive benefits that 3D printing offers to produce functional parts, particularly for unique- to small-series production, by reducing lead times and costs, optimizing supply chains and limiting dependency on supplier networks.

Daniel Büning, Co-Founder and Managing Director of NOWLAB, explains, “Our NERA E-Motorcycle is the perfect example of the disruptive capabilities of additive manufacturing in the mobility sector. The bike is the result of a radical new approach to product development, seamlessly spanning digital simulation to custom manufacturing. Therefore, NERA combines several innovations developed by NOWLAB such as the airless tire, functional integration, and embedded sensor technology. We push the limits of engineering creativity to reshape additive manufacturing technology as we know it.”

Contact NOWLAB

Opening a new dimension for Additive Manufacturing

E-Motorbike - Additive Manufacturing Applications

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BigRep premieres innovative 3D­ printed prototypes for E‐Mobility and automation applications: showcasing a new dimension of additive manufacturing.

3D printing thought and innovation leader BigRep showcases the world’s first fully (FFF) 3D printed, functional E-Motorcycle and bionic passenger seat, as well as an adaptive robotic gripper and 360° mobile industry platform for automation applications.

Opening a new dimension for Additive Manufacturing, these prototypes designed by NOWLAB the BigRep innovation consultancy, and printed on BigRep’s large-scale 3D printers, include two groundbreaking prototypes for e-mobility applications: the world’s first fully 3D-printed and functional electric motorcycle, the NERA, and a bionic passenger seat, the Aero Seat. Advancing applications in AM are two other new prototypes, the Adaptive Robotic Gripper, designed for flexible handling applications, and the Omni Platform, a 360° mobile industry platform for fully automated manufacturing environments.

"These exciting prototypes not only demonstrate the unprecedented capacity of FFF large-scale 3D printing technology in Additive Manufacturing”, said Stephan Beyer, PhD, CEO of BigRep GmbH. "They also emphasize our unique ability as the market’s innovation and thought leader to bring cutting-edge technologies from design to reality, providing a market value added lead for our industrial customers.”

Discover our 3D Printers

NERA E-Motorcycle
Lead Design: Marco Mattia Cristofori with Maximilian Sedlak

nowlab-blog-2

Using 3D printing technology for cutting-edge e-mobility solutions, NOWLAB has developed the world’s first fully (FFF) 3D-printed and functional e-motorcycle, the NERA e-motorcycle. As a distinction from similar prototypes, all NERA parts, excluding electrical components, have been 3D-printed, including tires, rims, frame, fork and seat.
"The NERA combines several innovations developed by NOWLAB, such as the airless tire, functional integration and embedded sensor technology”, explains Daniel Büning, Co-founder and Managing Director of NOWLAB. "This bike and our other prototypes push the limits of engineering creativity and will reshape AM technology as we know it.”

NERA illustrates the massive benefits that 3D printing offers for the production of end-use parts, particularly for batch sizes between lot size one to small series by reducing lead times and costs, optimizing supply chains, and limiting dependency on supplier networks.

In building NERA, the engineers didn’t simply adapt existing motorcycle designs, but instead envisioned a bike for large-format FFF technology, setting a benchmark for truly creative design; breaking the limits of traditional mechanical engineering. Among the many innovations featured in NERA are the airless tires with customized tread; a lightweight rhomboid wheel rim, flexible bumpers (instead of suspension) and the electric engine, which is fitted in a customizable case.

Aero Seat
Lead Design: Maximilian Sedlak

nowlab-blog-4

Another prototype for an e-mobility application is NOWLAB’s Aero Seat, based on aerospace developments and game-changing passenger seat designs for autonomous driving technology. This exciting seat shell design has an almost bionic touch, look, and feel as the seat adapts to the driver’s individual body shape: using a 3D body scan prior to the seat production, the shell will provide its users with an unprecedented level of comfort to reduce the stress and physical discomfort of long-distance travel. Last but not least, flexible material (TPU) was used for printing the seat cushions, which molds to the passenger’s body shape. In addition, they are attached to the shell using only a few fixing points to reduce vibrations.

Adaptive Robotic Gripper
Lead Design: Tobias Storz

nowlab-blog-4

The Adaptive Robotic Gripper has been designed to advance the full integration of robotics into automated AM, more specifically to grip finished parts from BigRep printers. Created on a BigRep STUDIO large-scale printer, the bionic gripper is mounted on a robotic arm. The gripper has three modular fingers and an opposable thumb and is capable of handling objects of any shape by wrapping its fingers around it instead of using excess force. It is responsive to pressure with a force-monitoring system that automatically adjusts its grip.
The bionic design of the robotic finger tips is inspired by the lamellae of geckos that help them climb walls. Each finger segment of the robotic gripper has an additional pad made of flexible lamellae. When force is applied these fine rib structures gently hold the gripped object by their restoring force.

Omni Platform
Lead Design: Marco Backenhaus with Mirek Claßen

nowlab-blog-5

The equally innovative Omni Platform is a 360° mobile industry platform (size: 100 by 80 cm) for highly flexible applications in automated manufacturing environments and smart factories. It can both serve as an automated logistics carrier (loading capacity: up to 200 kg) and as a platform for additional devices such as robots, for example, to be mounted.

The 3D-printed platform has a fully integrated design, i.e. any bearings or electronics can be integrated during the printing process. Two key elements are special 3D-printed omni wheels with two different materials, allowing the platform to move sideways, and an integrated safety feature (human detection antenna), which was also 3D-printed.

A Sense for Structure: NOWlab’s World-First ‘Smart Concrete Wall’

Construction with 3D Printing - A smart concrete wall

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We were thrilled to announce news of the world's first 'smart concrete wall' via a recent article on designboom. Developed by NOWlab, the innovation department at BigRep, the smart concrete wall involved the production of large-scale 3D-printed formwork, enabling an adaptive surface through embedded capacitive sensors.

Jörg Petri, co-founder of NOWlab and lead on this cutting-edge project, said, “This functionalization of a concrete surface is the first of its kind, opening the possibility for any imaginable concrete surface to become a switch.”

The capacitive sensors are activated by the touch of a hand on the outer surface of the concrete wall, turning on and off the functional 3D-printed hexagonal light fixtures in the grid. A video by BigRep on the smart concrete wall visually demonstrates how the structure works, and how it is envisioned to be used in a larger format, such as for wall dividers, facades and interior screens. The smart concrete wall was created to be 2 m in height, 1 m wide, and 10-30 cm in depth.

3D-printed formwork for the wall was printed on a BigRep ONE large-scale 3D printer at Immensa Labs in Dubai, in cooperation with project partner Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC). Ready to be used without additional certification, Petri says 3D-printed formwork enables resolutions that cannot be achieved by direct 3D printing of concrete. With large-scale 3D printing technology such as that of BigRep, companies now have the tools to produce required parts on a grand scale.

Petri and his team developed their know-how in the realm of 3D-printed formwork concrete casting in 2015 and, as 3D Printing Industry published in an article, BigRep was granted an international patent for the technology in April 2018.

As outlined in the designboom story, NOWlab believes that 3D printing can help architects reassert themselves as the master builders of the 21st century, enabling them to have direct control of the development of their designs. Techniques that once belonged to skilled craftsman, and have all but vanished from current building sites, can be reinstated thanks to 3D printing.

Well done to the whole team involved in bringing this world-first idea to fruition! NOWlab continues to work on numerous state-of-the-art applications using large-format 3D printing by BigRep, so stay tuned in the coming months for more exciting announcements and world-first projects.

Discover our Industrial Use Cases

World-first 3D Printed Airless Bicycle Tire

3D Printed Airless Bicycle Tire

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We’ve taken to the streets with our latest innovation, and are pleased to present the world’s first 3D-printed, full-scale airless bicycle tire. BigRep Product Designer Marco Mattia Cristofori shares with us how he used the flexible properties of the company’s new Pro FLEX filament to bring the tire prototype to life. We even captured him taking the tire out for a test spin through the streets of Berlin. You can see it in motion in the video below.

"We were able to replace ‘air’ as a necessity in the tire by customizing the pattern to be one of a three-layered honeycomb design. Based on the same principle, the design can be altered to fit the requirements of specific kinds of biking, such as mountain biking and road racing, or for different weather and speed conditions. Perfecting the design is the trickiest part," says Cristofori. Even small changes to the infill percentage or pattern can lead to different results in terms of weight and performance.

Printed on the BigRep ONE large-scale 3D printer, the tire prototype utilizes the full potential of BigRep’s latest filament: Pro FLEX. What separates the Pro FLEX from other 3D printing filaments is its unique flexible properties, coupled with high temperature resistance and durability. The rigidity and the internal pattern, known as the infill, can be controlled and customized to suit different weather conditions or terrain. The current tire prototype uses a three-layered honeycomb pattern adapted for urban use.

World-First 3D Printed Airless Bicycle Tire

The main advantage of airless tires as opposed to your average run-of-the-mill tires is that they simply never go flat. Once a luxury, airless tires are now looking to become standard practice in the transportation world. This is not BigRep’s first foray into the mobility world – BigRep has worked on a wide range of automotive, aerospace and transportation projects for such clients such as Aerobus, BMW, Deutsche Bahn, Etihad and Nissan. Following a recent blog post in which we showcased the high-temperature resistant wheel rim, BigRep’s portfolio of use cases continues to expand. It is also possible to print a fully-functioning bicycle frame on the BigRep ONE – as engineers of Aalborg University demonstrated in a recent project.

Since the release of the airless bicycle tire video, the TPU-based tire has received coverage from around the globe, such as on online news sites Inhabitat and CNET. With more projects in the works, we’re delving right into prototyping for the mobility, automotive, aerospace and other industries, so stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks.

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