10/20/2014

Process Builds Parts from Plastic Droplets

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Arburg’s Freeformer machine is designed to convert plastic granulate into individual plastic parts through additive manufacturing.

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Arburg’s Freeformer machine is designed to convert plastic granulate into individual plastic parts through additive manufacturing. Using the Arburg Plastic Freeforming (AKF) process, 3D CAD files are processed directly, standard plastic granulate is melted, droplets are generated from the liquid melt, and a fully functional component is built up from these droplets, layer by layer.

The AKF process uses conventional plastic granulates rather than prefabricated supplies such as powders or strands that can make the material, the processing and therefore the parts more expensive. Because the Freeformer can operate without support structures and therefore produces no waste, material consumption is reduced and production is more cost-effective, the company says.

The machine also can be equipped with two discharge units to process two different materials or colors at once. As a result, even movable, hard-soft combinations or parts with a special appearance or texture can be produced, Arburg says.

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