Sustainable 3D Printing with Multiaxial Machine Systems and Bio-based Plastics


Material extrusion of bio-based plastics by multiaxial additive manufacturing for a resource-saving production of applications from the automotive industry

  Additive Manufacturing Copyright: © WZL Additive manufacturing of bio-based plastic granulates on multi- axial systems for a resource-efficient production

Additive manufacturing processes promise great potential, which is why they are becoming increasingly important in private and industrial sectors. Unfortunately, 3D printing is not always associated with sustainable technology, as a lot of material is often consumed in the manufacturing process. Additive manufacturing processes offer the best prerequisites for demand-oriented, decentralized and resource-saving component production. In recent years, this technology has been the driving force behind many innovative green and socially sustainable projects.

In view of increasing environmental requirements, the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University, together with 3BOTS and Peiseler, will therefore be researching how plastic-based Additive Manufacturing can be made even more sustainable, especially in industry, in the future within the "BioME" research project. The focus will be on both an efficient and support structure-free component design and the use of bio-based materials in granulate-based material extrusion. In addition, a multiaxial plant system with a granular extruder will be developed to increase material efficiency and thus enable sustainable additive manufacturing using the example of automotive equipment manufacturing. In the course of the project, new customer segments and fields of application will also be investigated.

  Trees Copyright: © Pixabay Sustainability by increasing resource efficiency and using bio-based materials

The research project is divided into four work packages. First, the extrusion line will be designed. With the aid of a material analysis, the fluidity of bio-based standard pellets is to be analyzed, enabling an application-specific design of the extruder and the machine structure. Subsequently, the demonstrator, consisting of a multi-axis system and a printer head, will be set up for physical validation of the extrusion concept. This will produce a 3D model capable of movement, and all components will be integrated and assembled into a complete system.

Finally, the commissioning of the control system and the sensor technology will take place. Through experimental investigations, design and simulation, the web planning is to be optimized in order to increase the resource efficiency of the production of operating materials from plastic granulate. The new web strategy pursues the goal of support structure-free printing by using a 5-axis machining center. The web planning methods will be physically tested, adapted and evaluated with regard to their economic efficiency.

Within the research project, the WZL works closely with the industrial partners 3BOTS and Peiseler. The individual work packages are processed through a permanent exchange of information and expertise between the individual project partners. Peiseler GmbH & Co. KG produces driven rotary tables and enables the realization of a specifically manufactured swiveling rotary table for the extension of classic 3-axis kinematic systems by two additional axes. 3BOTS 3D Engineering GmbH develops large-format 3D scanning and printing solutions for in-dustrial and artistic applications.

The research project "BioMe" runs until December 2022 and is funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU).