3D printing opens up new potential 06 January 2020

Additive manufacturing, which is much better known to most people as 3D printing, has been in use in plastics engineering for many years. However, the method offers potential for many further applications including architecture, design, medical engineering, packaging or mechanical engineering. The services offered by Würth Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG are specifically geared towards machinery and plant engineering.

Thanks to these services, initial samples, prototypes, certified serial parts, spare parts and tools come from a single source from batch size one — a quick and cost-efficient supply process, not just for C-parts.

Be it large or small items, spare parts, small series or full fledged mass production. Be it a construction drawing or a full 3D model. Würth Industrie Service offers a wide range of the most diverse technologies as well as additive manufacturing processes, building on a powerful network of partners. This gives customers maximum freedom for the development and implementation of products, which also goes for the materials used for industry components.

Ranging from robust, rubbery or transparent plastics to aluminium, stainless steel, tool steel to high temperature resistant steel or titanium, the most suitable solution for the respective application or component of a customer in production, materials planning, maintenance, construction and development is chosen together from a great variety of different materials and prepared using various technologies such as laser melting, laser sintering, stereolithography, metal 3D printing or PolyJet printing.

Thanks to additive manufacturing, customers cannot only reduce lead times, development cycles and total component costs, but also improve the components’ performance, weight and functionality, opening up new perspectives as regards the geometry of developed parts. An innovative building component design allows combining different functions in one part. Additive manufacturing provides a new range of design options, including any desired shape and surface quality, integrated channels for process media and a reduced number of assembly steps. In addition, these manufacturing methods result in shorter delivery times and an elimination of minimum purchasing quantities.

In order to make full use of the opportunities offered by additive manufacturing, 3D printing specialists from Würth Industrie Service develop the respective components in cooperation with customers, following a predefined process and relying on state of the art construction methods. Virtual 3D models are prepared using CAD. Thanks to the digital “twin” of the component, all process steps along the way to the finished product can be traced, which allows an optimization of component features and a full documentation. Data models are then translated into machine data and printed. The additive component is created layer by layer.

When it comes to compliance with technical requirements, highest quality standards and a consistent, efficient process are the key to success. In order to guarantee the components’ quality, Würth Industrie Service operates a fully equipped test lab currently accredited for 50 test methods according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025. Thanks to the available product and testing knowhow, all components created in an additive manufacturing process can be tested for the below parameters to ensure the desired quality - mechanical strain, geometric shape, surface and material features.

Claire Aldridge Deputy Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 814 450

Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.

Claire prides herself on keeping readers well informed and up to date with the latest industry news.