Aug 8, 2017 | By Benedict

Cikoni, a Stuttgart-based engineering company, has developed hybrid production technology that adds carbon fiber to the 3D printing process. Cikoni’s AdditiveCARBON can be used to make 3D printed structures with carbon fiber reinforcement.

Carbon fiber 3D printing, a field spearheaded by companies like Markforged, is one of the most exciting areas of additive manufacturing. It’s easy to see why: all the advantages of 3D printing coupled with the strength of carbon fiber should be a winning recipe.

The problem is that you can’t really print with carbon fiber—you can layer it, embed it, or otherwise attach it to a 3D printed part, but carbon fiber can’t simply be fed through a machine on its own. Markforged handles this problem beautifully, adding carbon by “ironing” fibers onto printed layers, but there are doubtless many other ways that hybrid carbon 3D prints can be made.

German company Cikoni says it has a new way to combine additive manufacturing with carbon fiber, and that way is (appropriately) called “AdditiveCARBON.” According to Cikoni, the process allows continuous carbon fiber reinforcement to directly follow load paths, with the 3D printed base structure serving as support for compressive loading.

Although we don’t know many details about how the process works, Cikoni stipulates that a robot-supported 3D winding process is used to lay down the carbon fiber. “Filament winding builds up unidirectional, non-crimp layers by forming high performance composite parts directly from the fiber coil,” Cikoni says.

From what we can see, AdditiveCARBON sounds exciting, and it can purportedly bring down both manufacturing costs and production times. Cikoni says its carbon fiber reinforcement process reduces the necessary build volume of the 3D printed part, while the printed base structure eliminates the need for tooling.

(Images: Composites World)

According to the Stuttgart-based company, which was founded in 2015 by former employees of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and the German Aerospace Center, AdditiveCARBON is particularly useful in cases where “lightweight design requirements are combined with distinct component variability.” These include 3D printed items like medical prostheses and aircraft components.

Excitingly, Cikoni’s new technology can also be incorporated into existing production setups, since the AdditiveCARBON system is modular and can be set up in several ways. “The holistic approach has already convinced numerous customers to rethink their view on lightweight design,” Cikoni says.

Cikoni specializes in a number of areas of engineering, including draping simulation, R&D for composite materials, composite parts design, and process development for automated preforming and 3D filament winding. We’ll keep an eye out for further details about its AdditiveCARBON technology.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Dr Print wrote at 8/8/2017 5:22:06 PM:

Nice stuff and interesting approach!

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