3D printing belongs to the so-called generative manufacturing processes (also called additive manufacturing / "AM"), which have developed into a new core technology of product manufacturing. In principle, this involves the layer-by-layer building of components. The process is already available for a comprehensive selection of materials. For example, plastics, resins, ceramics or metals can be used, ensuring a versatile application.

Due to the new manufacturing possibilities that AM brings with it, products can be realised that were not possible using existing, conventional processes. This advantage favours above all the design, as well as the functionality and performance of products. Due to the (printer-dependent) high speed in manufacturing by means of 3D printing, demonstrators and first small series can also be produced quickly (called rapid prototyping), which can be used for presentations and similar demonstration purposes.

  • Prusa i3 MK3

  • Formlabs Form3

  • Formlabs Fuse1

  • EvoTech EL-102

  • Projet CJP 460+

With the help of AM, the potential of hollow structures can be fully exploited, as they can be reinforced selectively and adapted to local loads, so that an individual adaptation to a product-dependent load case is possible. These optimised structures for stiffening a component are generated and optimised using algorithms developed specifically for this purpose.

The greatest advantage of AM is the freedom in shaping and design. Curved surfaces and curved elements can be produced without any problems. With conventional methods, this would involve an enormous amount of effort, many work steps and a large number of required tools. At the same time, this gives us the unique opportunity to develop and manufacture complex bionic or bio-inspired structures. In this way, nature can serve as a template for us to be able to significantly increase the efficiency between lightweight design and strength of a product.

We have various printers available for the realisation of our developments. Initial prototypes and smaller models are produced on a FFF printer (Fused Filament Fabrication) of the Prusa i3 MK3 model. If, on the other hand, very filigree models with the smallest details and low material thicknesses as well as high demands on the surface are to be realised, the stereolithography printer Form3 is used. Functional, mechanically stressed components and prototypes are produced using the Fuse1 selective laser sintering process, while large models made of new, sustainable and exotic materials can be produced on the high-performance EL-102 dual extruder. Model sizes of up to 500 mm are possible on this machine, as well as the printing of water-soluble support structures. Last but not least, the binder jetting process of the ProJet 460 is used for detailed illustrative models in multi-colour printing.

Depending on the requirements and the complexity of the bio-inspired structures, we can use the most appropriate process to realise innovative ideas for every project.