New flexibility and independence
When it was announced that a 3D printer intended to be used in-house, the employees reacted partly critically, partly fascinated. But even the first tests on the tensile strength of the components convinced the critics. „It‘s great for the constructors to work with it, they are really happy!“
The Mark Two is used exclusively by the mechanical construction department, which in turn develops machines for various industries such as medicine, automotive, plastics processing or the metal-cutting sector.
Opinions still differ among customers. For example, when it comes to the high demands of medical technology, customers do not yet trust a 3D printed part to perform as well as a machined, surface-finished part. Here, a fibre composite material competes with an anodised aluminium part. This is still viewed sceptically and there is still some convincing to be done. Plastic parts are even used in the medical technology clean room.
In the medical area, a stainless steel workpiece is screwed to the point where, for example, the gripper touches the product. In this way, erler GmbH can meet the FDA requirements for surfaces that come into contact with the product. The same is also applied to parts for abrasion, so that the stressed areas are made of wear-resistant materials.
Various suppliers also deliver 3D printed parts, but 95% are milled because the tensile strength cannot be achieved with their printers. The opinion of 3D printed parts is often still that they are brittle, have nice surfaces, but are not suitable for mechanical engineering. This is different with the Markforged machines.
For example, the robot flange and the grippers themselves are now printed, as these are very workpiece-specific. Whether a medical technology assembly or an automotive bent part is to be gripped – the gripper must be individually designed for the environmental conditions.
There are also various accessories for feeding and removing parts to and from the robot: Holders for conveyor belts, holders for flexible feeders, parts for the conveyor belts themselves or sensor holders.