Automotive Applications with the BigRep PRO

Whether you operate the BigRep PRO today, outsource to a machine shop or are currently contemplating a new equipment purchase, this article is for you.

The BigRep PRO is the most user-friendly, large format 3D printer available on the market and adoption continues to increase, specifically in the automotive sector for a variety of applications.

While 3D printing began as a rapid prototyping solution for many automobile OEMs and suppliers, it has since become a highly useful machine for product customization, tooling, and even end-use production possibilities. According to a recent report by AMFG, the automotive 3D printing market is expected to grow to $5.8 billion by 2025.

Automotive Productivity

Compared to most industries, automotive is on the cutting edge of technology adoption and additive manufacturing has become a critical consideration for the future of product development and production. New technologies are being implemented on the manufacturing floor to increase efficiencies, provide a safer environment for workers, and embrace Industry 4.0 for smarter manufacturing. In the following video, BigRep prints a full scale fixture that is ergonomically improved for manual labor applications and concurrently used as a hand jig for alignment. The BigRep PRO is advantageous for many automotive applications due to its large build platform (1m²), remote monitoring system and advanced material capabilities.

3D Printing with the BigRep PRO

57% of manufacturers purchase or use additive manufacturing equipment for jigs, fixtures and tooling. Source: Jabil, AM Survey 2019

Smart Manufacturing

Operating the BigRep PRO is simple and intuitive. Begin by installing BLADE slicing software and take a moment to review the material profiles available on the BigRep PRO. Although the PRO is an open system platform capable of running a variety of 3rd party materials, we include custom material profiles with our own proprietary filaments, which were developed and certified specifically for the PRO. This dramatically reduces print setup time and allows engineering to immediately begin print requests. Custom sensors are integrated into the PRO which enables real-time equipment feedback and the remote monitoring system allows you to monitor printer performance at any time. Printing large parts takes hours, sometimes days, so it’s certainly convenient to occasionally check in on your parts while finishing other tasks. This is smart manufacturing.

  • BLADE Software with predetermined material profiles for optimal printing performance
  • Smart sensors for real-time equipment feedback
  • Remote monitoring that enables lights-out manufacturing

High-Performance Processes and Materials for Improved Functionality

Fixtures on an automotive assembly line must be rugged and durable. Before 3D printing, fixtures were designed and machined using subtractive manufacturing. This process was reliable but designs were limited, lead times were too long, and the costs didn’t always outweigh the benefit. Even worse, some production facilities needed to bond or weld tooling fixtures together which may lead to structural deficiencies and major problems on the manufacturing floor. Using the BigRep PRO, automotive OEMs and suppliers are embracing the ability to immediately build tools that are sized appropriately and require no additional post processing. In this particular case, BigRep prints HI-TEMP CF (carbon fiber) that is built to withstand significant forces with no warping or part degradation. It’s ideal for large parts that require ultimate strength and functionality.

  • High Temp CF is a lightweight material ideal for stiff and durable applications
  • 65 MPa tensile strength
  • Low moisture absorption

Subtractive vs. Additive: Handheld Automotive Fixture

ProcessTime to ProduceCost
CNC Subtractive Manufacturing15 Days~5,000 €
Other FDM Additive Manufacturing Services8 Days~1,000 €
BigRep PRO Additive Manufacturing1.3 Days~675 €
Savings91% Time Savings77.5% Cost Savings

Fixtures and the Future

This particular fixture is approximately 130 cm x 14 cm x 22 cm and was printed in 32 hours. This is lightning fast compared to conventional subtractive or other additive manufacturing technologies. Furthemore, it was printed in one single pass without the need for bonding, finishing, or welding. The BigRep PRO is built to tackle the largest (or smallest) prototyping and production requests from any department in your organization. While this article strategically focuses on automotive fixturing applications, it’s obvious that this can be adopted for many other industrial manufacturers and use cases. BigRep prides itself on being the most reliable, user-friendly, large platform additive manufacturing machine in the market.

Let us PROve it to you. Request a cost per part and ROI calculation today!

BigRep_Pro_white 223 54

Let us PROve it to you!

BigRep and Forward AM Expand Strategic Partnership with new Material, CONCRETE FORMWORK

3D Printed Concrete Formwork

BigRep and Forward AM, the 3D printing business of BASF, are excited to introduce a new material, CONCRETE FORMWORK, targeted to the architecture and construction industry.

Berlin, Germany. May 10, 2021. Architecture is the representation of a cultural era. By transforming its design language, creators can redefine the world around us. However, reality comes crashing down when conventional formwork solutions quickly reach their limits as construction elements become more complex. To overcome this challenge, Forward AM and BigRep are expanding their partnership and have joined forces again to leverage the synergies between their main areas of expertise: Virtual Engineering, Additive Manufacturing, advanced material development, and large-format printing.

Formwork, the molds used in concrete construction, can make up 40 - 60% of a total budget, especially for complex shapes. Without 3D printing, some designs like organic geometries, double-curved surfaces, and cavities are simply not feasible to produce. They require highly skilled laborers to build customized formwork resulting in high costs, long lead times, and material waste.

“We are excited to work with Forward AM to bring more solutions to the architecture and construction industry,” said Dr. Sven Thate, Managing Director of BigRep. “Our customers are seeing huge gains in terms of cost and speed thanks to our large-format machines and the new CONCRETE FORMWORK filament. Our solutions are opening the doors to many new possibilities.“

BigRep 3D printers, which are up to 1 cubic meter in build volume, can produce large, complex formwork up to 3x faster at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. With BigRep's new CONCRETE FORMWORK filament enabled by Forward AM, the massive benefits of 3D printed formwork are yours for the taking.

“At Forward AM, we developed a highly dimensionally stable, rigid formwork material, especially tailored to work seamlessly on the BigRep’s large-format3D printers. We are excited to be able to deliver this ready-to-use, end-to-end fabrication solution for bespoke formwork,” says François Minec, Managing Director BASF 3D Printing Solutions.

Demonstrating the material's effectiveness and advantages for the construction industry, Forward AM and BigRep showcase the “Bespoke Stair at Nest Step2,” designed by DBT at ETH Zürich with ROK, SW Umwelttechnik, and WaltGalmarini. The innovative concrete staircase expands the design possibilities of structural architectural elements, while minimizing costs, material waste, and skilled labor. NEST, to be built at EMPA in Zürich, is an innovative building utilizing digital fabrication and circular economy.

For more information on the partnership and to see the printers and material in action, visit

• BigRep https://bigrep.com/applications/concrete-formwork/

• Forward AM https://forward-am.com/use-cases-and-whitepapers/concrete-formwork/

 

4-Hour Parts! Fast 3D Printing in Large Scale

Fast 3D Printing

Fast 3D printing has been the goal of new additive manufacturing technology forever. Unfortunately, when it comes to industrial 3D printers, the size of parts just hasn't been conducive to quick and quality prints. Now, as innovative new technologies hit the market that change the extrusion process allowing industrial 3D printers to produce large-scale parts in just 4 hours, that's finally changing.

4-HOUR PARTS! Fast 3D Printing in Large Scale with the BigRep PRO

A Fast Extruder for On-Demand Solutions

Thanks to the inclusion of BigRep’s proprietary Metering Extruder Technology (MXT®), the BigRep PRO is 3D printing large-format parts in just 4 hours - in this case a manifold for automotive applications. It's able to achieve these exceptional speeds because, unlike FFF, MXT melts filament in advance and stores it in an internal reservoir. The extra step enables unprecedented speed and precision in the printing process by separating the filament melting and material deposition processes, ensuring material passes through the hot end at its ideal temperature and viscosity.

With an identical nozzle size and layer height on a standard traditional 3D printer the parts take 14 hours, a far cry from the astounding 4 hours with MXT. At this speed, the PRO can help fulfill last minute or urgent part requests faster than any other large-format 3D printer. Beyond simply fast production, the full-scale manifolds were 3D printed with exceptionally strong PA6/66 filament (Nylon) - an advanced material with superior layer bonding. Even at speeds 3x faster than traditional FFF technology could produce with a standard PLA material the parts are stronger, breaking across layers before delamination. In urgent circumstances like Kawasaki’s 5-hour fixture for an aircraft cargo door, that kind of quality and on-demand responsiveness is priceless.



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When we talk about why you should invest in additive manufacturing the rationale is usually hard numbers: lower costs, faster lead times, and overall increases to productivity. Those are great talking points that speak to the metrics most businesses are looking to improve with a technology investment – or why your boss will be happy you bought a BigRep PRO. But really all of these metrics are just pleasant, measurable effects of how an industrial 3D printer makes your manufacturing operations more flexible. Having the fastest 3D printer in its category, capable of producing engineering-grade parts on-demand at high speed, just extends that flexibility.

The BigRep PRO is our ultimate industrial offering. It provides manufacturers with a variety of features to handle any circumstance you might be faced with. Its massive one-cubic-meter build volume enables the production of exceptionally large parts, or batches of parts that are either all the same or varying iterations. With other built-in quality of life features, like IoT connectivity to monitor ongoing prints and sequential printing to streamline print organization, the PRO gives manufacturers a lot of flexibility in how they want to produce parts. But what makes the PRO really special is that it raises the bar in not just how a part is produced, but the versatility of parts themselves – giving you the power to balance the PRO's enhanced production speed, strength, surface finish and other material properties as you see fit.

Fast 3D Printing Sample Part
Fast 3D Printing Sample Part Drawing

An Industrial Machine for Fast 3D Printing

Sometimes speed isn’t your first priority. MXT is unmatched in the fast creation of strong parts but, as a new technology, its compatible materials and resolutions are limited. That’s why the PRO includes BigRep’s fiber-ready Advanced Capabilities Extruder (ACE). It's a traditional FFF extruder for a variety of engineering-grade materials and resolutions to ensure the PRO meets your every need.

The PRO comes stacked with advanced components for faster printing with traditional FFF extruders, too. BigRep’s Precision Motions Portal enables high acceleration and stable printing with high-quality servo motor, a stiffened axis and a unique double rail that evenly distributes the weight of its advanced extruders. Meanwhile a Bosch Rexroth CNC Control System provides elevated responsiveness and repeatability with its 32 integrated sensors and spline interpolation for smooth surfaces. With its top-tier construction, even the PRO’s ACE extruder is capable of printing 1.5x faster than competing industrial 3D printers.

Manufacturing with industrial 3D printers costs less and produces more because they eliminate outsourcing, expensive molds, and all those other inefficiencies of traditional manufacturing. They’re faster because they can run unattended to produce parts in a lights-out manufacturing setting, and because they don’t need any retooling to work. But where industrial 3D printers really shine, and especially the BigRep PRO, is what can’t be expressed so well with metrics. The flexibility that the BigRep PRO brings to industrial manufacturers, from the how to the what, has enabled many businesses to rebalance production for any given task with just a single industrial tool.

1m³ Industrial 3D Printer

A large-format 3D printer designed for high productivity in industrial manufacturing environments. It's an additive manufacturing system with the speed and reliability to supercharge your production with high-quality industrial parts.

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Introducing BLADE: BigRep’s Specialized Large-Format Slicing Software

Scaling additive manufacturing to large-format sizes means more than just a big 3D printer.

Industrial applications require parts that can be trusted and repeatable print results. Every aspect of the printing process must be taken into consideration and redesigned to ensure part integrity and that printer hardware can handle extruding large amounts of often abrasive filament with extreme uptimes.

BigRep has already created the largest serial-produced 3D printers in the world, constantly expanding its offerings for the growing demands of industrial users. Now, BigRep is proud to introduce BLADE – a specialized large-format slicing program – to support today’s additive innovations in industrial additive manufacturing at every level.


Get BLADE now for a rapid, hassle-free start to industrial 3D printing.

Download Now


Designed for Large-Format

BigRep has reinvented large-format additive systems, building 3D printers with the hardware necessary to achieve quality parts printed in large scale. But until now, the slicing software available for additive manufacturing hasn’t been ideal for large-format applications. To tackle this problem BigRep has created BLADE, free slicing software for large-format, built on the exceptional and familiar Cura, that caters to the needs of industrial users.

Frequently Updated Material Presets

By optimizing for large-format parts and integrating presets for all BigRep-compatible materials, BLADE streamlines the industrial printing process to save users’ time and ensure successful, quality prints. BigRep’s catalogue of specialized engineering-grade material is continuously growing, and BLADE will always stay up to date with material properties to ensure the best possible results for 3D printed parts.

Accurate Print Time and Material Use Predictions

Because of its detailed material presets, BLADE’s estimation engine can provide superior predictions for both print times and material usage, ensuring that users can maximize printer uptime and accurately anticipate raw material needs.

Adjustable User Interface Modes

BLADE’s user-friendly interface makes for a simplified printing experience. Depending on the complexity of a part, or simply user experience, the use of complex slicer features will naturally change. That’s why BLADE’s UI features both a basic mode, to familiarize new users with the slicer or streamline simple projects, and expert mode, to enable precision controls by easily giving power-users access to the software’s more detailed processes.

Automated Batch Production Planning

Large-format is made for scalable production, including the ability to quickly manufacture small batches of parts for a variety of uses. We believe the importance of quickly and easily organizing batches can’t be understated, so BLADE includes an automated batch production planning to duplicate and place parts throughout the print bed.

With BLADE, BigRep now provides a holistic solution for industrial 3D printing. Offering design software, materials, and advanced additive systems to ensure businesses’ production capabilities are performing with peak efficiency at every level with a controlled eco system. Built on industry-standard software with key features and optimizations, BLADE will change the way users create by introducing a rapid, hassle-free start to printing.

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]

What is MXT®? (Metering Extruder Technology)

At the height of additive manufacturing’s growth, a promise was made to advance 3D printing technology and enable anyone to produce anything anywhere. BigRep is proud to have developed the revolutionary Metering Extruder Technology (MXT®) to finally realize that promise and provide industrial manufacturers of any size the dependable tools they need to produce without limits.

As FFF extrusion technology reaches the peak of its development cycle, it becomes less likely that the technology’s quality will meaningfully improve. Additive manufacturing must be rethought from its foundation, the extruder, to achieve the long-sought goals of repeatable end-use parts with engineering-grade materials.

Featured on the BigRep PRO large-format 3D printer, MXT has taken on the challenge of professional industrial production, setting a new additive manufacturing standard.


Find out about revolutionary MXT technology
on the BigRep PRO,
industrial manufacturing system

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How Does it Work?

If FFF 3D printing is like a hot-glue gun, MXT is a syringe.

In the FFF process material is melted as it passes through an extruder’s hot end. Unlike FFF, MXT melts filament in advance and stores it in an internal reservoir. This extra step enables unprecedented speed and precision in the printing process by working with material that is stored at its ideal temperature and viscosity.

Using a reservoir of molten filament allows MXT to print with unprecedented control due to the separation of filament melting and material deposition processes. Traditional FFF technologies push solid filament through extruders by exerting force at a distance from the hot end, creating a gap of time between the cease of force and of actual filament extrusion. Instead, MXT uses a metering pump just above the hot end as a source of controlled, local force for the pre-emptively melted filament. With this highly accurate feeding combination, MXT pushes an intricately measured volume of material through the hot end locally. This drastically improves printer throughput and precision, enabling better results at a faster pace.

The process makes printing up to five times faster than traditional FFF printers, depending on part geometry and layer height, with a throughput of up to 200 cubic centimeters per hour (cm3/h) at maximum extrusion rate. Because of its level of accuracy and separated material processes, MXT extruders eliminate many of the limitations of FFF 3D printing , improving speed, geometric accuracy, and repeatability.

MXT also eliminates oozing – excess material passing through the nozzle after the extruder stops pushing filament through – by implementing a secondary force called retraction where the extruder’s metering pump runs in reverse to pull or stop any filament already past the reservoir, halting extrusion instantly to maintain exceptional print accuracy.

METERING EXTRUDER TECHNOLOGY (MXT)

Why Does it Matter?

With traditional FFF extruders, speed is limited by the necessity of melting filament as it passes through the hot end. If material is pushed through too quickly it won’t melt enough to effectively adhere to previous layers and users risk delamination – layers of printed parts separating. This creates a bottleneck where extruders are forced to match pace with the speed their hot end can properly melt filament at. By separating these processes, heating filament to ideal extrusion temperature in the reservoir, MXT avoids the issue entirely and improves all aspects of printer performance.

Upon announcing MXT, Fabbaloo’s Kerry Stevenson called it “the single most important advance in 3D printer extrusion technology I’ve yet seen.” It’s an advancement that will enable the industry to continue its exponential improvement of additive hardware – making printing faster, better quality, with more materials.

 

As FFF extrusion technology reaches the peak of its development cycle, changing the technology’s foundation – extruders – becomes the only way to continue advancing additive capabilities and industry applications.

Repeatability, speed, and precision can only be further improved upon by forgoing the traditional FFF printing process and instead reinventing extrusion processes from the group up.


Find out how Boyce Technologies is using large-format additive
and the BigRep PRO to win more business in our free use case

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A New Dimension for Additive Manufacturing: Fully Automated and 5G Connected 3D Printer BigRep PRO

Unlocking the full potential of additive manufacturing for the factory of the future / Prototype showcase marks next step in development partnership between BigRep and Bosch Rexroth / Fully 3D printed NEXT AGV for automated manufacturing to be presented.

Hannover / Berlin (Germany), March 31st, 2019 - BigRep, the global leader in large-scale 3D printing, together with its development partner Bosch Rexroth, one of the world’s leading suppliers of drive and control technologies, will present a fully automated and IoT-integrated, 5G connected 3D printer BigRep PRO at the upcoming Hannover Messe (April 1-5, Bosch Rexroth, hall 17, booth A40). As an industry-first showcase, this prototype solution marks one of the groundbreaking next steps towards the factory of the future. In addition, a 3D printed AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) will be presented as a key tool in automated manufacturing systems.

Powered by BigRep’s proprietary, exclusive Metering Extrusion Technology MXT®, and a state-of-the-art Bosch Rexroth motion control system, the PRO delivers unprecedented speed, precision, quality and IoT connectivity that fully integrates with Industry 4.0. The BigRep PRO is the German-engineered company’s next-generation 3D printer, providing engineers with the ability to create functional prototypes, as well as composite tooling, end-use parts and small-number serial production using high-performance materials. The PRO can be ordered now.

“Our new printers are the launching pad for the factory of the future. We are opening a new dimension for additive manufacturing by establishing industrial 3D printing in automated and IoT-integrated systems. BigRep’s quality solutions meet the industry’s requirements for precise, controlled and efficient machines with full data integration,” said BigRep CEO Stephan Beyer, PhD. “We will establish 3D printing as an added value production technology in industries such as automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, manufacturing and more.”

„Over the medium term, additive manufacturing cannot ignore the need to adept to the standards of established production processes,” said Thomas Fechner, Head of the Business Unit New Business at Bosch Rexroth. “The goal is a completely digital workflow. The data must be able to pass consistently – from the customer order, the CAD software and simulation environments to specific machine movements and quality assurance.”

The BigRep PRO is meeting these requirements. Equipped with industrial IoT solutions from Bosch Rexroth and Bosch Connected Industry, the machine’s IoT devices, software and intelligent sensors such as, for example, a vibration sensor, transparently monitor all operating conditions. Another key element of the prototype showcase is an integrated 3D scanner for mid-print product quality inspection.

This solutions reduces rejects and reproducibly increases the quality of the printed components. At the same time, they increase the availability of the machine, since the software solutions detect wear and defects before they lead to machine failure. The integrated IoT Gateway software ensures that the BigRep 3D printer is connected with the industrial Internet of Things. Bosch Rexroth relies on connectivity with other machines and higher-level IT systems, because only this enables integration into connected production lines in series production.

This means that data-intensive processes such as quality monitoring in the multi-variant manufacturing can be outsourced to the cloud or production-related edge systems with the help of 5G.

Another key requirement for efficient automated production systems are inter-connected assembly and intra-logistics solutions. The challenges facing production planning in the factory of the future are escalating because manufacturing customized products and small batch sizes requires greater flexibility. Autonomous transport systems like the NEXT AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle), which can be experienced first-hand during the trade fair show, are getting more and more important for the factory of the future.

The NEXT AGV is a 3D-printed prototype jointly developed by Bosch Rexroth and NOWLAB, the innovation department of BigRep. Powered by an inductive energy unit running on a power grid, it can both serve as an automated logistics carrier (loading capacity: up to 250 kg) and as a platform for additional devices such as robots, for example, to be mounted.

The 3D-printed NEXT AGV offers many advantages: Contrary to the traditional and manual construction (i.e. sheet metal molding), the 3D-printed NEXT AGV is manufactured much more efficiently. Following a flexible design with the core elements (battery and electronics) serving as the unchanged base framework, the AGV’s shell design dimensions can be easily adapted to the required or changing needs without reducing the loading capacity – a key prerequisite for flexible industrial applications. Other key elements of the NEXT AGV are special 3D-printed wheels with two different materials, allowing the platform to move sidewise as well, and an integrated safety feature (Human Detection Antenna), which has also been 3D-printed.

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.

To arrange an interview with BigRep’s executive management team on site in Hannover, and for more information on BigRep and its solutions, please contact:

Juergen Scheunemann
PR & Communication
PR & Communications BigRep GmbH
T +49 30 9487 1430
E [email protected]

BigRep Unveils Two New Industrial 3D Printers With MXT- Metering Extruder Technology

BigRep next generation

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BigRep Unveils Two Industrial 3D Printers With Proprietary Groundbreaking MXTâ Extrusion Technology:  Setting a New Standard for Additive Manufacturing

Powered by BigRep MXT® and state-of-the-art CNC control systems and drives by Bosch Rexroth, the PRO and EDGE deliver unprecedented speed, precision and quality for industrial applications and full connectivity to integrate additive manufacturing with Industry 4.0

BigRep, the global leader in large-scale 3D printing, today at formnext, the world's leading exhibition for additive manufacturing, unveiled a significant breakthrough in Thermoplastic Extrusion (Fused Filament Fabrication – FFF). BigRep’s new proprietary MXT® will power its two new 3D printers and set a new standard for and redefine additive manufacturing.

The BigRep PRO and BigRep EDGE are the German-engineered company’s next-generation 3D printers, promising to provide engineers and designers with the ability to create functional prototypes, as well as composite tooling, end-use parts and small-number serial production. Capable of printing with high-performance materials, the PRO and EDGE will firmly establish 3D printing as an innovative, added value production technology in industries such as automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, manufacturing and more.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the new printers are embedded with BigRep MXT®, an exclusive Metering Extruder Technology, and equipped with a state-of-the-art Bosch Rexroth motion control system – delivering unprecedented speed, precision and quality and IoT connectivity that fully integrates with Industry 4.0.

BigRep PRO is available to order immediately. BigRep EDGE is scheduled for release in Q2 2019.

“This new technology delivers the type of innovation that the industry has been awaiting, as our groundbreaking MXT® system makes our new printers five times faster – with greater precision and quality – than current extrusion speeds,” said BigRep CEO, Stephan Beyer, PhD. “This is one giant leap for additive manufacturing, allowing BigRep customers to make full use of today’s most advanced large-scale 3D printing technology.”

BigRep PRO is specifically designed for 3D printing of large-scale industrial parts and features a build envelope of one cubic meter and a large, temperature-controlled spool chamber allowing for continuous printing with high-performance materials, like ASA/ABS, nylon and more. The insulated, enclosed metal frame ensures an optimal even temperature control, while glass doors offer a view of the print. The heated print bed is mounted with polyimide foil for enhanced adhesion during the printing process, and an integrated inductive sensor allows for semi-automatic leveling.

BigRep EDGE, with a build chamber measuring 1500 x 800 x 600 mm, is specifically designed for high-end, high performance materials in large-scale format, allowing for end-use parts, functional prototypes and composite tooling. Its heated build chamber provides a controlled, high-temperature environment of up to 200° C in the chamber and 220° C in the print bed. The EDGE also features a premium user experience with automatic, upward-moving doors and an easy-to-use graphical interface on a large screen that enables full control over all print settings.

formnext-2018-unveiling-2

The new technology powering these 3D printers is significant because extrusion technology has largely been unchanged for a quarter-century. The first major advancement is a result of the development partnership announced earlier this year between BigRep and Bosch Rexroth, one of the world’s leading suppliers of drive and control technologies. Through this partnership, the PRO and the EDGE will be the first 3D printers by BigRep incorporating a state-of-art CNC control systems and drives by Bosch Rexroth, making 3D printing a truly IoT-ready machine with full connectivity and data.

Thomas Fechner, General Manager of the Business Unit New Business at Bosch Rexroth, commented: “Thanks to professional control systems technology, 3D printing is establishing itself as an industrial manufacturing application. In terms of hardware, the CNC control system by Bosch Rexroth is delivering the necessary performance, precision and durability. In our development partnership with BigRep, we are advancing the potential of 3D printing for its use in the environment of the Factory of the Future.”

The second major advancement is BigRep MXT®. Unlike its predecessor, BigRep MXT® establishes a clear separation between filament feeding and melting and molten extrusion, which allows for full control over the amount and speed of material extruded at any given time. This new technology is also designed to make full advantage of the innovative printing materials BigRep, in its partnership with BASF, continues to develop.

PRO and EDGE are equipped with two MXT® modular extrusion heads, which manage and synchronize the extrusion and printing operations. This translates into:

  • Printing speeds of >600 millimeters per second (mm/s), when the PRO is used with its finest 0.6 mm nozzle, making it five times faster than any FFF printer on the market. The EDGE surpasses that with speeds of up to 1,000 mm/s with the finest 0.6 mm nozzle in place.
  • Demonstrated filament throughput rate of 5x at the maximum extrusion rate and 3x at the average extrusion rate, compared to FFF technology, delivering material deposition control that allows for unmatched quality, repeatability and precision.

Creating a New 3D Printing Filament – How BigRep Made Pro HT

pro ht

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“When 3D printing started, everybody was printing ABS. It is one of the most common materials used in injection molding. Everybody wanted to replicate it in 3D printing.”

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a thermoplastic, and previously seen as the ideal kind of material for 3D printing extrusion. Using it is not exactly simple though, says BigRep’s Materials Product Manager Markus Bucher, “You need a very controlled ambient temperature to print ABS, which is difficult to achieve. ABS is also not so safe, in terms of the toxic fumes being emitted while melting, so we cannot tweak the machine to reach those temperatures.”

BigRep had plans for printing with a filament stronger than ABS, so the team set about engineering a solution with similar properties. The result: BigRep’s Pro HT.

They managed to find a material with thermal stability comparable with that of ABS, as well as making it easy to handle – it is printable in a similar way to BigRep PLA on the BigRep ONE, in an open build space. Bucher wanted the renewable material to present with good adhesion to the print bed, minimal shrinking and warpage, which they achieved.

Once they had the temperature resistance fixed (115°C) Bucher and the team tested their new material internally, with a new in-house materials verification system. They scouted for materials suppliers and got their certifications in order.

BigRep-car-wheel-rim-mobile-web

As well as designing and manufacturing the highest quality large 3D printers, BigRep is dedicated to material innovation of this kind. BigRep’s materials engineers look in detail at every parameter, consistently fine-tune current materials and when looking to release another 3D printing filament, feedback is always followed by more fine-tuning of the parameters. It is a difficult yet worthwhile process, particularly in the case of Pro HT and engineering-grade materials.

“We were one of the first companies to release a filament with a matte finish, and for that we received a lot of good feedback,” said Bucher, speaking on the positive response from customers who have been happy with the properties of Pro HT. Bucher says the black color filament has been the most popular product in the Pro HT range. It is also available in Nature and Silver colors.

Given its high-level heat resistance, Pro HT is an ideal candidate filament for 3D-printed functional rapid prototyping in industrial settings and is a high-strength, weather-proof filament.

For example, in designing and printing an aesthetically fascinating wheel rim prototype, BigRep Designer Marco Mattia Cristofori says Pro HT was the best filament for the job. “For the angles and declination of the print design, Pro HT properties were ideal,” said Cristofori. “It allowed us to create a highly accurate model for functional testing.” BigRep True Support PVA (water-soluble material) was used with PLA for the rim prototype, then black Pro HT was chosen for the final product, due to its sleek matte finish.

BigRep continually works with clients across a variety of industries on custom material solutions for their individual business applications. As well as the recent release of TPU-based filament Pro FLEX, the materials team has much more in store for the coming months, so stay tuned!

Discover our Industrial Grade Filaments

Lean on PVA, When You Need Support

PVA - 3D printing support material

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Many of us wish our worldly worries could just dissolve away, but it never seems to work that way. Though if it’s about support structures for large-scale 3D objects, then BigRep’s PVA is the cure for all concerns.

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is commonly used in industrial 3D printers with dual-extruders, like the BigRep ONE, to provide support for an object with overhang issues. Some complex prints involving multiple extended overhangs (of over 45°) can only be performed by printing such a support structure. Otherwise, the printed structure would warp or simply collapse – nobody likes that.

BigRep PVA is unlike any other 3D printing filament on the market. It is non-toxic, odorless and easy to extrude, as well as being water soluble. The warmer the water, the faster it dissolves, so users can spend more time creating those tortuous prints and less time refining the results. Moreover, it has been optimized for improved melt flow characteristics, meaning users need not spend their precious time unclogging the hot end. A new video by BigRep shows how easy the process can be, as well as the quality prints resulting from PVA integration.

Wheel Rim

For complex geometries, PVA can be the ideal support structure to enable printing of angles over 45 degrees. Designed by Marco Mattia Cristofori, this 3D-printed wheel rim challenges aesthetic norms for such vehicle parts. The intertwining braces are designed such that they would not be possible with CNC and other traditional methods of milling a wheel rim. Furthermore, for Cristofori’s design, there was no need for manual post-printing curing, sanding, or grinding, thanks to the PVA support – it melts right off the final print.

3D Printed wheel rim

BigRep Longboard

3D printed on the BigRep STUDIO, this BigRep bionic longboard is a model of structural integrity and fascinating aesthetics. It was printed using BigRep PLA with PVA support and integrated carbon pipe, as designed by Beatrice Müller. Once the print had been soaked in water for 20 minutes, BigRep’s team was able to use a soft spatula-type implement to begin scraping the residue off the print.

Longboard

While BigRep already sells a range of high-quality, meticulously engineered 3D printing filaments through its online shop, there is always room for consultation on additional materials. When customers are looking for a specific kind of filament for a custom application, BigRep’s team is pleased to take on the challenge – read more about collaborations between BigRep and Deutsche Bahn, Etihad Airways Engineering and BASF.

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“If it wasn’t tested, it doesn’t work!” – Our approach to testing large-scale 3D printers

Our team tests the printers for quality assurance

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We use the word quality a lot – many companies do. Though without defining what it means, the term can become hollow. So, I wanted to write a two-part blog series on quality assurance, to underscore exactly what we mean here at BigRep, when we talk about the superior performance of our 3D printers. I’ll first focus on hardware quality, speaking on how we make our printers and ensure they’re the most advanced, reliable machines possible. Secondly, in an upcoming blog post, I will delve into our materials and how we make sure they are the highest quality printing filaments out there for a range of applications.

At BigRep I lead a talented team of around 30 developers and engineers in the fields of mechanics, electronics, software, materials and testing, who are all working on exciting innovations, pioneering new products and optimizing existing ones. Everything we develop goes through a set of extremely rigorous testing processes, which are developed by us in-house and go above and beyond what is mandated regarding international regulations.

The leading theme of our quality assurance and testing process is: “If it wasn’t tested, it doesn’t work”. This basically means that we leave nothing to chance. Although we have hundreds of accumulated professional engineering years in our R&D team, we test each and every configuration of hardware, software and materials. We do it in two phases: by the developing engineers, on prototypes, and by a dedicated testing team, which emulates the customers’ behavior.

Here are some of the core focuses for us surrounding testing and quality:

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World-class electrical engineering

I’ve been in the 3D printing industry for many years and trained as a mechanical engineer, having worked with Stratasys, Objet and Aeronautics Ltd., among others, so I have encountered a wide range of machines. I know that one of the things that sets BigRep 3D printers apart is that they are German-engineered for quality. We spare no expense or effort in sourcing high-grade materials for our components, and in ensuring we partner with the most trusted companies to manufacture our printers – Olpe Jena GmbH and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. These two companies are world-renowned for their products’ quality, in the semiconductor industry (Olpe) and the high-end 2D printing industry (Heidelberg). Both have mandatory processes for verification of each sub-assembly before being assembled in the final assembly, ensuring that there are no errors or problems present with the final client. They employ their quality processes in parallel with our suggested tests.

In evaluating our machines, we focus our efforts on testing the electrical and electronic system leading to extreme points of functionality (electrical overload, increased mechanical loads, increased temperatures, etc.), to identify the maximum levels at which our 3D printers can work without affecting the safety of our customers and their processes.

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Safety standards and certifications

It’s essential to us that our products are safe and easy to use, so we comply with EU-regulated safety standards, which are among the most stringent in the world surrounding safety for the consumer. For example, “European Conformity” (CE), which indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area.

These standards are continuously evolving and we at BigRep are making sure that we are always on top of the changes in requirements of these standards. Sometimes, it means redesigning a current product. Furthermore, we comply with the CB Certification Scheme: the world’s first international system for the mutual acceptance of product safety test reports and certificates for electrical and electronic equipment, devices and components. It is based on the use of internationally-accepted product safety standards, relying on a global network of CB testing laboratories (CBTLs) that are responsible for testing products to applicable technical standards. We are using such independent laboratories to test the printers for us in order to get an objective review of our machines.

We also independently integrate additional safety features into our large-scale 3D printers such as integrated sensors to detect human movement and auto-stop print and glass slide walls on the BigRep STUDIO for additional user safety.

High-performing software and UI

At BigRep, we develop software in-house to be compatible with our machines. Our software engineers are constantly optimizing and upgrading software to meet the current and future demands of our customer base. On-site testing with our printers is essential, and done on a daily basis. Our software is the main point of contact between machine, the materials and our client, so it is crucial that our tests are always meticulous. From our evaluations, we are able to develop and release new versions that offer increased stability, are friendly to our final client, and ensure the total functionality of the system.

In short, we take the word ‘quality’ very seriously – it’s a consistent conversation we have here at BigRep about how we can continue to set new standards of openness and quality through the printing industry, and achieve excellence in everything we do, including every machine we produce and our future products. Stay tuned for the next post on quality: a focus on filaments.

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Moshe Aknin is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at BigRep, leading a team of around 30 developers and engineers in the fields of mechanics, electronics, software, materials and testing. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the Hebrew University.


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