BioME - Material extrusion of bio-based plastic pellets with multi-axial additive manufacturing for resource-saving production of applications from the automotive industry

Key Info

Basic Information

01.01.2021 to 31.12.2023
Organizational Unit:
Chair of Production Engineering, Innovation Management
German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU)

Research partner

    • Peiseler GmbH & Co. KG
    • 3BOTS 3D Engineering GmbH

The use of additive manufacturing (AM) has brought numerous benefits, such as shortened time-to-market cycles, high product innovation and customisation1. The use of AM has also gained importance in the automotive industry as it moves from prototyping to series applications and enables the targeted use of printed tools, among other things. From an environmental perspective, there are high hopes associated with the use of 3D printing. It is expected that this technology will contribute to more environmentally sustainable production in the future to enable improvements through material savings, waste reduction and new recycling techniques. However, current 3D printing of polymers shows that poorly recyclable materials are often used and a high degree of material utilisation cannot be granted due to support structures.

The BioME research project is about the material extrusion of bio-based plastic granulates using a 5-axis machining centre in additive manufacturing to increase the degree of material utilisation. Based on an application example from tooling, a new innovative production system for printing polymers of tools and equipment for automotive construction is to be developed. For this purpose, the extrusion concept of plastics for the processing of plastic granulates to a continuous discharge for the successive construction of a product is relevant to explore. The extrusion of plastic pellets offers the possibility to significantly increase the process time due to the high output rate and to process the large number of available injection moulding raw materials. In this project, the targeted use of bio-based plastics is intended. The extrusion concept will be developed on a 5-axis machine system in order to design, in addition to the extrusion of plastic pellets, a path planning strategy that enables support-free printing of components using a form formelemen-oriented production processes. Finally, automotive components will be printed and tested in order to evaluate the overall system. The current market of additive manufacturing systems shows that there are many system specializations that enable, for example, low-cost 3D printing (see Ultimaker S5) or 3D printing of high-volume components (see BigRep One).

The BioME project addresses an overall system concept that, in contrast to existing solutions, not only investigates and improves a deficit, but develops a comprehensive and competitive overall package for the market. The consortium consisting of plant developer, system manufacturer and research institution plans to build up a demonstrator of the plant, in particular to physically investigate the extrusion concept and the path planning model and to include them in the SMEs' company portfolio. The project goal is to demonstrate the potential of sustainable production dealing with plastics.