5 questions for... Andreas Bierbaumer
| Julia Reich
The Development Engineer talks about product development
From the first request to the prototype, everything happened very quickly – despite some challenges. Andreas Bierbaumer tells us more about the development of Additive Manufacturing systems, the first printing trials and other milestones.
What were the first development steps of Additive Manufacturing?
The project started in 2018 in the area of Injection Molding/New Machine with the order to build a prototype machine with our own hardware. At that time, we had neither our own extrusion head (Printcore), nor a robot or safety cage. So we used existing KraussMaffei systems, designed our first Printcore, carried out initial tests and developed our first prototype with our own extruder system for large scale Additive Manufacturing.
That sounds like a pretty high development speed. What happened after the first prototype of the powerPrint?
Yes, absolutely. In 2019, we started the cooperation with IWU Fraunhofer and further developed the extruder system. From then on, the project picked up more and more speed. We conducted tests on the printing surface as well as with the material to be printed, rebuilt the system and kept adapting the 3D printing process. Despite various teething problems, two years later we were able to put the newly developed Printcore into operation. That was a major milestone. In 2022, the time had come: we successfully produced the first POC (proof of concept) for the Wilhelmi company and for the K trade fair.
What were the first applications to be printed?
The first applications were various geometries to show our management that KraussMaffei is capable of producing a 3D printer. For example, we printed a KraussMaffei lettering, a chair and even a first technical model. In the beginning we still printed on a wooden board!
The first printing trials were therefore successful. What ups and downs were mastered during development?
At the beginning of the project, it was difficult to find internal supporters or sponsors. The challenge was to finance and officially anchor a pre-development project in the company that had arisen from a departmental idea. In retrospect, the project would not have come about without the strong support of superiors and colleagues from the New Machine and Injection Molding departments. The biggest successes were the production of the first printable prototype machine, but also the successful cooperation with potential customers already in the pre-development phase and now the official inclusion of Additive Manufacturing in the company strategy.
The biggest successes were the production of the first printable prototype machine, but also the successful cooperation with potential customers already in the pre-development phase [...].Andreas Bierbaumer
Development Engineer Additive Manufacturing
Regarding KraussMaffeis three other technologies: From which technical know how does AM benefit?
Our powerPrint, for example, combined many areas of KraussMaffei technologies: extrusion and plasticizing technology for the Printcore, automation / robotics for the machine kinematics and data acquisition and evaluation for the 3D printing process. Additionally, sensor systems for process stability and control technology for machine control playing an important part. But we also draw on a lot of know how form the other technologies for precisioPrint.
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