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Rapid + TCT 2020: two Freeformer machines show potential of Arburg Plastic Freeforming

Rapid + TCT is taking place from 21 to 23 April 2020 in Anaheim in the US state of California. At stand 3405 in hall B, Arburg will present two Freeformer machines which use Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) to process original plastic granules in the production of complex functional parts: the first of these, a Freeformer 200-3X with two discharge units, will be producing an implant for use in medical technology. The second exhibit, a Freeformer 300-3X with three discharge units, will showcase an application involving the processing of three materials.

The 200-3X and 300-3X Freeformer machines enable Arburg to cover a broad spectrum in the industrial additive manufacturing of functional parts from original materials.
The 200-3X and 300-3X Freeformer machines enable Arburg to cover a broad spectrum in the industrial additive manufacturing of functional parts from original materials.

“We were incredibly proud to win the People’s Choice Award at Rapid + TCT 2019. This year, our exhibit will once again feature two Freeformer machines, exciting examples of components, interactive stations and the latest developments in Arburg Plastic Freeforming,” says Friedrich Kanz, Managing Director of Arburg Inc. in the USA. “We have recently expanded our Freeformer team in the USA. Having firmly established a position in the injection moulding sector of the US market, which is a major priority for Arburg, we now intend to do the same for additive manufacturing.”

 

Freeformer exhibit produces resorbable implants

The Arburg Plastic Freeforming process is able to cope with highly challenging applications, especially in medical technology, and produces the right results where no other additive process can. The open system provides a cost-effective way of processing biocompatible, resorbable and sterilisable FDA-approved original plastic granulates – resulting in products such as custom-made orthoses and implants. At Rapid + TCT 2020, a Freeformer 200-3X will be demonstrating the advantages that the APF process holds for this demanding industry: Resomer LR 706 (a polymer composite made from poly(L-lactide-co-D,L-lactide) and ß-TCP) will be used to create implant plates intended for direct application in the body to help repair fractures. The polymer composite, which is an Evonik product, imitates human bone and contains 30 percent ceramic additives, making the resulting component more stable and adding calcium as a means of promoting bone formation. After a certain time has passed, the implant is then fully absorbed. The Swiss company Samaplast is one example of a customer from the medical technology industry which is already using a Freeformer to process innovative resorbable materials of this type.

 

Freeformer machines cover a wide application spectrum

The two Freeformer 200-3X and 300-3X machines cater to a wide range of industrial additive manufacturing applications. While the Freeformer 200-3X is equipped with two nozzles as standard, the Freeformer 300-3X is able to process three components as a means of producing even complex functional parts in resilient hard/soft combinations with support structures. The APF process operates on the basis of qualified standard granulates, which are the same as those used for injection moulding. Users have the option of processing their own original materials and optimising droplet size as well as process control with the open Freeformer system. Alternatively, they can access Arburg's material database of reference materials. The numerous qualified standard granulates documented there include ABS (Terluran GP 35), PA10 (Grilamid TR XE 4010), PC (Makrolon 2805), TPE-U (Elastollan C78 A15) and PP (Braskem CP 393). Further examples are special plastics for specific applications such as medical PLLA (Purasorb PL18, Resomer LR 708) and a PC (Lexan 940) approved for aerospace use.

With just a few minor adjustments, Freeformer machines are suitable for use in clean room environments – something that customers have already proven in practice. They produce very few emissions, are dust-free and have a build chamber that is usually made from stainless steel. Process quality can be documented reliably, and components can be clearly traced as and when required.