Jan 8, 2018 | By Benedict

Netherlands-based 3D printing company CEAD, formed in 2014 by two of the four co-founders of Leapfrog, has developed a large-scale (4 x 2 x 1.5 m) continuous fiber composite 3D printer suitable for use in the maritime and infrastructure sectors.

CEAD's first CFAM 3D printer is due mid-2018

Since its formation in 2012, Dutch 3D printer company Leapfrog has introduced plug-and-play consumer desktop machines like the Bolt 3D printer, as well as more professional-focused models like the Bolt Pro and XceL. But while that company continues to make its mark on the FDM 3D printing market, two of Leapfrog’s co-founders have moved on to a rather different project: making gigantic 3D printers for maritime and infrastructure customers.

Those two Leapfrog co-founders, Maarten Logtenberg and Lucas Janssen, decided in 2014 that they would form a new company, CEAD, which would focus on the industrial side of 3D printing. In the few years since its formation, CEAD has developed automated machines, including a filter production system, and now has an even more exciting development up its sleeve.

CEAD’s new creation is something called Continuous Fibre Additive Manufacturing, or CFAM. The composite 3D printing technology adds continuous fibers to a printed parts for reinforcement—potentially similar to processes employed by carbon-printing 3D printer companies like Markforged, but on a much larger scale.

According to CEAD, the company’s first CFAM 3D printer has a build volume of 4 x 2 x 1.5 meters, making it suitable for industrial applications like yacht and ship building. The printer also has a high output and a high-temperature granule extruder capable of extruding and printing at a rate of at least 15 kg/hr.

The CEAD team includes former co-founders of Leapfrog

Able to process standard granule plastics and engineering plastics, including PP, PET, ABS, PLA, and PEEK, the new CEAD 3D printer can incorporate carbon fibers into a print, while using an internal heating mechanism to prevent warpage. This mechanism can also cool a print down.

Development of this huge additive manufacturing system goes back to September 2017, when CEAD began collecting market input and looking for a launch customer for the 3D printer. That customer has since been confirmed as Poly Products B.V., a company that makes composite products for the maritime industry.

After the research stage, the first task for CEAD was developing an extruder capable of processing standard plastics at a rate of at least 15 kg/hr. The company says it actually well exceeded this goal, having produced an extruder capable of 25 kg/hr extrusion. On top of that, the CEAD team also had to find a way of feeding continuous fiber through the print head.

CEAD is based in Rotterdam, a port city and shipbuilding hub

CEAD says its first prototype 3D printer will be ready mid-2018, with Poly Products the first recipient of the large machine. The Dutch maritime company will use the CFAM 3D printer to make large-scale products without molds or tools, also printing prototype products for customers in order to get quick feedback.

The reinforcing fiber within the 3D printed products should give Poly Products’ wares the strength needed to be used in maritime applications, while the company will also install a 5-axis CNC mill with the same dimensions as the 3D printer that can be used for the finishing of printed objects. CEAD is helping to make this process completely automated, allowing objects to be quickly swapped between machines.

CEAD also has a second customer lined up besides Poly Products. Maritime engineering and consulting firm Royal Roos will use its own CEAD CFAM 3D printer to reduce the weight on maritime vessels using printed composite products, and will also develop an engineering service based on large-scale composite 3D printing.

During 2018, CEAD plans to build three more 3D printers beyond the two reserved for its first customers, and will move into a bigger production facility in order to do so. The ambitious company then hopes to become the biggest large-scale composite 3D printer manufacturer in Europe.



Posted in 3D Printer



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Guus van Marle wrote at 1/9/2018 2:59:17 PM:

What is the nozzle diameter?

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