Integration of FGF technology to meet industry needs
Large Format Additive Manufacturing (LFAM) by direct pellet extrusion, also known as FGF (Fused Granular Fabrication), is a technology that until recently required not only a large investment, but was also not easy to make profitable and presented certain limitations in terms of design and finish. This manufacturing method consists of depositing molten plastic pellets on a print bed layer by layer to gradually create the 3D object. To do this, the plastic pellets are conveyed to the extrusion head, which heats them and presses them until a homogeneous molten plastic mass is obtained. In this sense, higher system performance results in higher build speed but lower surface finish, and vice versa.
Discovery 3D Printers, the additive manufacturing division of CNC Bárcenas, specializes in the development of professional solutions based on FGF technology. According to its CEO, Francisco Bárcenas: “The growing and diversified demand of the market has pushed us to offer more and more personalized solutions, and also more economical, so that more customers can access this technology ”. In fact, the company, located in Valdepeñas (Ciudad Real, Spain), launched in 2016 the Super Discovery 3D printer, a machine with FGF additive manufacturing technology pioneering in Europe. The machine had an initial volume of 3.25 m3 (1.3 × 2.5 × 1 m), and its first customer was Navantia, as part of its “Shipyard 4.0” strategy.
Seeing the needs that existed in the market and the demands of certain customers, the company chose in 2019 to develop models of higher production (up to 10 kg per hour) and volume, reaching 11.25 m3. Thanks to this, he managed to create the largest 3D printer in Europe to date. During this period, Francisco explains: “Several of our customers have told us of the significant challenges associated with the finishing of certain final parts and tooling – such as molds – that were made by machining processes. We have been manufacturing CNC milling machines since 2009, and we have considered merging additive and extractive manufacturing technologies ”.
Thus was born the Super Discovery 3D Printer Workstation, again a pioneering equipment whose first client was the prototyping department of the UNEX group, but which already has other international clients such as the construction division of the Belgian group Willy Naessens and the University of Brandenburg technology. . In parallel, and from the link with private companies, universities and technological centers, CNC Bárcenas detected new needs related to the design of parts, the search for new materials or the limitations of space and budget. Thus was born in 2020 the prototype of the Super Discovery 3D Printer Compact, a machine with all the advantages of the standard model, but with smaller dimensions (1000x800x500mm) and at a much more affordable price.
Among its various values, the company has always stood out for its ability to provide tailor-made solutions within everyone’s reach, even by combining different technologies in the same equipment. In addition to the aforementioned workstation, the latest challenge they took on was the development of their hybrid Super Discovery 3D printer model, which together with the direct pellet extrusion system incorporates a second filament extruder. . Both technologies (FGF + FDM) can be used both in the same job and individually, which can get the most out of this 3D printer.
With the same print volume as the Compact model and a throughput of up to 2 kg per hour, the Hybrid model allows users to manufacture more complex parts with better resolution, at a very competitive price within reach not only industry, but also SMEs, technology centers, educational establishments, etc. With the Super Discovery 3D Printers ecosystem, additive manufacturing of large parts such as tools, molds, prototypes and small series of final or spare parts, in short lead times and at a much lower cost, is now also within the reach of the professional user, the researcher or the teacher. You can find more information on the manufacturer’s website, HERE.
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