Large-scale 3D printing is on the brink of transforming additive manufacturing (AM) and BigRep’s next generation of engineering-grade printers—discussed in detail during the webinar—set a new standard for the industry. If you joined us for the live webinar, we hope that you enjoyed it, however, if you missed it, you can still watch a recording of the full webinar here or read on for a summary.
Frank Marangell, President of BigRep America hosted the webinar with the help of Abbey Delaney—Marketing Manager.The webinar took guests on a journey from traditional FFF technology and its limitations to BigRep’s next generation of industrial 3D printers: the BigRep PRO and the BigRep EDGE, both equipped with new patented MXT®—Metering Extruder Technology, which solves two of the fundamental limitations of FFF technology: low throughput and low repeatability.
The BigRep Strategy
The question was posed: what makes BigRep different from other AM manufacturers? First, BigRep is application led and customer-centric. That means that value-added, and innovative parts are identified, designed and built before materials and systems are put in place. Presently, new applications are coming on the market from functional prototyping, jigs and fixtures, to end-use parts. The evolution of AM from experimental prototyping to industrial end-use parts happened at lightning speed—and Fortune 500 companies now see the commercial benefits. As companies like Ford, Daimler, Etihad, Toyota and Boyce Technologies—customers of BigRep—turn to AM for faster product development, on-demand spare parts, and futuristic applications; it’s clear that AM has shifted in its utility for the manufacturing sector.
Traditional FFF Technology
“If it melts, we can print it,” said Moshe Aknin, Chief Technology Officer, referring to standard FFF/thermoplastic extrusion print technology. Indeed, FFF can produce very good dimensional repeatability with good dimensional stability. It’s on these pillars that additive manufacturing progressed from small, basic printed models to the latest revolution—large-scale industrial AM.
However, with disappointing throughput, and low repeatability, FFF’s functionality beyond experimental design, has until now, disappointed engineers. Moreover, with the relatively low surface quality of printed parts, the industry plateaued—since the commercialization of FFF in the early ‘90s.
Why the Low Throughput?
In order to understand why throughput was previously low, you need to look at the basic concept of FFF: either a gear/wheel mechanism pushes a filament into a hot nozzle, or a screw mechanism pushes polymer pellets into a hot nozzle.
So, you have a very fast reaction process—the movement—and a very slow process—the melting. They need to be synchronized to have a precise deposition of the material. Thus, the previous solution was to slow everything down—to a speed that the thermal melting process allowed. Thus low repeatability is a consequence of producing a 3D object without controlling the flow of the material. With many industrial 3D printers, the volume of material extruded is unknown.
New Frontier in Additive Manufacturing
Evidently, the market demanded a solution, so BigRep pioneered the patented MXT® (Metering Extruder Technology.) The result: transformative throughput and high repeatability; two unique selling points of BigRep’s next generation of large-scale 3D printers—the BigRep PRO and the BigRep EDGE.
BigRep’s MXT® (Metering Extruder Technology) is set to redefine additive manufacturing. When compared to traditional FFF technology, the new patented innovation by BigRep, is capable of printing speeds of 1,000 mm /s—on the BigRep EDGE and exceeding 600 mm /s on the PRO. Importantly, these print speeds are achievable without diminishing the accuracy of the print. Marangell, who has decades of experience in additive manufacturing, explained in detail how MXT® works and why, with controlled extrusion and a Bosch Rexroth CNC system—a new level of throughput is possible.
Furthermore, BigRep’s materials are developed in partnership with BASF—the largest chemical producer in the world. Engineering-grade materials, now possible on the BigRep PRO extend the possible applications for large-scale 3D printing—once a major barrier in industrial AM. Thermoplastic materials can now be used in both new printers, but the BigRep EDGE, due to be released in Q2 2019 has an even wider range of high-performance materials such as ABS/ASA, PC, PP, and PEI (Ultem.)
New Printers: The PRO and the EDGE
BigRep has set a new standard for the industry, with the release of the PRO and the EDGE, our next generation printers—that respond to industrial demands. Now built with a state-of-the-art Bosch CNC system, enclosed build chambers, and MXT® technology.
The EDGE, which is due to be released in Q2 2019, promises to reshape AM as we know it—with high-performance materials, speed, and precision extrusion. The webinar drew to a close with a ten-minute questions and answers session, with questions rolling in from industry enthusiasts, across the globe.
Watch the full webinar here.
Frank Marangell is President of BigRep America Inc. and Executive VP of Global Sales at BigRep. He has been operating at the top level of the additive manufacturing industry for over a decade.
Connect with Frank on Linkedin HERE.