Sep 21, 2017 | By Tess

Italian machining specialist CMS has announced a new partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (Fraunhofer IWU) through which they will jointly develop a hybrid system for 3D printing and machining thermoplastic composite parts.

Within the additive manufacturing industry, it is becoming an increasingly common belief that 3D printing will only come to reach its full potential if it is used in combination with other manufacturing processes, such as machining and milling.

This idea has led many companies and research groups to explore the potentials of hybrid manufacturing systems, which integrate both additive and subtractive processes to create strong and complex parts, which also boast smooth and professionally finished surfaces.

And while we mostly see these efforts being conducted within the metal AM sector, it is somewhat refreshing to see that a similar project is being undertaken with plastic 3D printing.

Fraunhofer IWU will be working closely with CMS to develop CMS Kreator, a new system which will combine 3D printing and machining for the production of high-quality thermoplastic composite parts.

According to the partners, CMS Kreator will have applications in many fields and industries, and will be geared towards the manufacturing of precision prototypes and even special production parts.

Learning about the hybrid technology, it is clear that both CMS and Fraunhofer IWU are aiming to create a versatile system. For instance, they have said the machine will be available in a range of configurations and sizes, and will accommodate a wide variety of plastic-based materials.

Among the suitable materials are ABS, PA, and high-performance polymers with CF/GF fibers. For the latter, the parties say that fiber content in the polymers can reach up to 40 per cent, which would open up possibilities for creating functional tools as well as sturdy and reliable molds.

Also notable is that the CMS Kreator system is being built to be used with granulate materials (rather than 3D printing filament), which means that the materials will be more easily obtainable (as granulate thermoplastics are more typically used in industrial processes), as well as cheaper than filaments and other 3D printing-specific materials.

How will the hybrid technology work? Well, as the companies explain, the printer will integrate an extrusion system built to quickly deposit thin strands of plastic (reportedly 8x faster than standard FDM deposition rates). Once extruded, the strands will be cooled immediately, to create lightweight “bird bone” structures.

The CMS Kreator will also be designed to include a 5-axis milling unit, which can be used to finish the 3D printed thermoplastic parts, as well as a fiber placement unit, which will make it possible to 3D print thermoset carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP).

You can watch a video of the 3D printing technology below (bonus if you understand German!):



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Kevin Feeley wrote at 10/16/2017 9:34:12 PM:

Greetings Tess, Can you please email me ( a point of contact for someone involved in the project to develop the CMS Kreator Hybrid System for 3D Printing of Thermoplastic Composite Parts. I'd like to find out more details about the system's capabilities. The owner of our company is very excited to learn more about the new system of 3D printing. Sincerely, Kevin F.

I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/22/2017 7:55:55 AM:

that is fast

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