You have to rethink to use the full potential
In special machine construction, all machines are actually prototypes, but they have to work. If there are design or manufacturing errors, or if the programmer is busy at the machine and needs another part at one point, he only has to wait a few hours instead of several days or even weeks to get the desired part now. This has an immense effect on time-to-market – but also on employee motivation.
The parts have similar properties as carbon parts, but cost only 1/3 and can be produced unmanned overnight or over the weekend. Complicated milled parts and clamping devices for our CNC milling machines are printed overnight. „We also use it to produce spacers and assembly gauges for our employees. This relieves the milling department and allows it to concentrate on its core business,“ says Elmar Daubenmaier, who also holds the position of Technical Manager.
For the vacuum grippers of the PCB robots, larger components are needed than the 3D printer can print in one piece. Here, the design team has found two solutions: Either the part is divided into three smaller pieces and screwed together with a precise fit, or it is inserted into each other like puzzle pieces. „With the form-fitting connections, we were surprised at how precisely they came out of the printer. We rarely need to rework the CAD model here,“ says Elmar Daubenmaier.
„We have developed a welding machine for foam profiles. We printed all the dies needed for these profiles. Conventional production would have been far more expensive.“ Even a mould to coat parts of an extraction unit with synthetic resin was printed completely. In addition, various other highly complex components of a sophisticated machine extraction system are manufactured with HSHT glass fibre reinforcement.
Mr. Daubenmaier is often asked how 3D printing could be implemented at the company. They think of a 1-to-1 implementation. „But sometimes you just have to rethink so that you can use the full potential of additive manufacturing!“ ASS Luippold was also able to refute the prejudice that plastic parts are not stable enough with a spontaneous experiment: Spare gear parts were needed for a machine. These could not be procured so quickly, so they printed them and reinforced them with continuous carbon fiber. The gears were installed in December 2018 and the machine has been running with plastic gears without failures ever since!