Stuttgart – 07.05.2015

Steve Rommel and the working group of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart are mainly concerned with generative manufacturing processes. These are part of the so-called Industry 4.0. We were introduced to the different processes that fall under the term generative manufacturing and have been developed to date.

Already in 1862 by Francois Willème and by the patent of J.E.Blanther in 1892, the technology of topography laid the foundations for the principle of generative manufacturing.

These include nowadays:
Sintering – Local melting of powder materials
Extrusion – extrusion of molten thermoplastic polymers through a nozzle
UV curing – locally induced copolymerization
Binder technology – Binder is specifically applied in powder bed
Laminating – cutting and joining of panels

On a positive note, I would like to emphasize the way Rommel talks about the topic in general and his work. He always tried to emphasize how generative process engineering, many people are familiar with 3D printing in particular, usually only makes up a small part of the production or manufacturing process. Often it is even ‘only’ used in prototype construction and/or for small series. Also not to be disregarded is the often time-consuming post-processing that has to be done by
hand, such as the removal of support structures.

Finally, Rommel also showed us components printed from PA 12 and then galvanized, in this case metallized with nickel.
Electroplating can have chemical advantages, influence conductivity or increase the stability of the component in a material-saving way.

An application example and implemented project is the redesign of this assembly bench. It is carried by car mechanics in production from car to car to carry out interior work.
The bench, which protects against cuts and offers a seat and lying surface, has been reduced in weight. A carbon fibre sandwich material was chosen for the surface and the substructure was 3D-printed from polyamide (PA 12) for a perfect fit.

text: Julian Reineck