Large-format, liquid-tight canisters made of polypropylene
For a long time, polypropylene was considered impossible to print due to the high shrinkage and the difficulty with pressure bed adhesion, especially for large components. HAGE3D has made the impossible possible: HAGE3D now has the process and the machine to manufacture large components from polypropylene.
As the world‘s leading provider of solutions for all aspects of vehicle washing, Washtec also makes use of innovative technologies such as additive manufacturing. Initially, they tried it with 3D printing service providers. However, the long delivery times for large-volume components and data confidentiality were particularly problematic. In addition, there was also the size restriction in the SLS process. Thus Dr. Andreas Sattler and DI Stefan Mayer from Washtec started looking for an own machine – and finally found what they were looking for at HAGE3D. According to Mayer, the reasons for choosing HAGE3D were as follows:
“HAGE3D is one of the few manufacturers who produce machines with a large, temperature-controlled installation space. […] But the mechanical design also differs significantly from the maker scene. It‘s not just a small printer that has been scaled up. The solid mechanical engineering is also evident in the surface of the components. It‘s just real mechanical engineering.“
Together with HAGE3D, a customer-specific, solvent-resistant and liquid-tight canister made of PP (polypropylene) was produced as part of a joint feasibility study. „Components made of PP are simply difficult to get broken, the high elongation at break should not be underestimated. And in terms of costs and chemical resistance, PP is the optimal material for us,” explains Dr. Andreas Sattler. In addition to the tightness and chemical resistance of the plastic, the print bed adhesion, uniform temperature control of the built chamber and suitable process parameters were essential. For example, the question of support structures was very complex. Despite the diverse and high demands, these could be solved with the HAGE3D machine after just a few printing attempts. Only minimal design changes in terms of tightness and distortion had to be made for optimization. Immediately after the two-day commissioning including training by a HAGE3D expert, Washtec users were able to operate the machine themselves and print the first parts.
In addition to manufacturing canisters, the HAGE3D 140L is also used for various other internal applications, as Mayer explains: „The HAGE3D machine is also used – apart from PP – for various components such as vacuum grippers with integrated channels, supports for the joining process, auxiliary devices, covers and cladding parts, in other words in the areas of manufacturing technology and manufacturing aids.“