Additive Manufacturing 3D Printing Prototypes for Tool Innovation from Rothenberger
Franken Guss has supplied 3D printed prototypes for a new tool innovation from Rothenberger. Thanks to the use of Franken Guss’ 3D printing process Selective Laser Melting, Rothenberger was able to have its prototypes produced in several development cycles within a very short time.
Rothenberger presents a newly developed plastic pipe cutter “ROCUT 42 Twin Cut”, which enables precise cutting for pipes up to 42 mm in diameter. The special feature is the unique 2-in-1 function, which automatically switches between direct or ratchet cutting, thus replacing two plastic pipe shears. In addition, the PTFE coating of the blade reduces friction between the pipe and the blade, allowing even multi-layer composite pipes to be cut with little effort.
Rapid Prototype Production
In cooperation with the additive manufacturing department of Franken Guss, Rothenberger was able to have its prototypes manufactured within a very short time in several development cycles. For this purpose, Rothenberger used the 3D printing process Selective Laser Melting from Franken Guss in various development phases to generate physical components from the designed 3D data sets.
“Only through additive design can the full potential of additive manufacturing be exploited, such as a significant reduction in the weight of components or functional integration. In addition, manual rework is usually also reduced, thus saving costs”, explains Benjamin Schiller, engineer in the additive manufacturing department of Franken Guss.
The procedure is always the same: First, the customer sends the component data to Franken Guss, usually as STEP or STL format. “Among our customers from all kinds of industries, the understanding of 3D models varies. Some already lay out the 3D models optimally for the additive manufacturing process, others sometimes still need information and technical advice. However, it is also not always possible to lay out parts for additive design if, for example, prototypes are manufactured additively and the series components are later produced using die casting“, Schiller adds.
After checking the technical feasibility, the customer quickly receives an individual quotation for the inquiry and is informed about the delivery time, as the latter often plays a major role for the customer. As soon as machine capacities are free, the components can be scheduled for production. The manufactured parts must then be freed from any support structures and blasted. It is not uncommon for the customer to additionally request mechanically machined functional surfaces as well as heat treatment of the parts in order to adjust the material properties.
Good Comparability with Cast Components
The relatively thin wall thickness of the housing halves proved to be a technical challenge. As a result, the components tended to warp during production. However, this problem was quickly eliminated by specifically tying the components to the build plate and subjecting them to heat treatment after production. The 3D printed aluminum prototypes are characterized by their good comparability in material properties to cast components and thus the final product.
Rothenberger is a manufacturer of pipe tools and pipe processing equipment in the sanitary, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, gas and environmental technology sectors.