BigRep and Bosch Rexroth partner to develop smart factory 3D printing systems

BigRep, a large-format 3D printer manufacturer based in Germany, and international engineering firm Bosch Rexroth, have partnered to integrate state-of-art CNC control systems and drives into new additive manufacturing systems.

“Across industries, customers are looking for reliable, controllable and efficient 3D printers in order to manufacture top quality parts,” said Dr. Stephan Beyer, CEO at BigRep.

“As BigRep is the first to integrate CNC-grade control systems in 3D printers, we will re-define Additive Manufacturing. The Rexroth controls are also an excellent platform for providing our 3D printers with full connectivity for existing production and automation systems. This will establish 3D printing as a key Industry 4.0 application.”

BigRep during Formnext. Photo by Michael Petch.
BigRep during Formnext. Photo by Michael Petch.

Large-format smart factory solutions

Following a materials partnership with BASF, BigRep has further established the ideal conditions for large-scale industrial additive manufacturing as its range of 3D printers will be equipped with full connectivity and data processing capabilities. Bosch Rexroth, who previously redesigned a range of 3D printed servo valves for TRUMPF, will use its expertise in drive and control technologies to enable faster and more cost-efficient additive manufacturing for models, prototypes, tools and end-use products.

This collaboration ultimately intends to create 3D printers for use in smart factories – incorporating IoT and end to end digital monitoring of machines. Thomas Fechner, Director of the Business Unit New Business at Bosch Rexroth explained:

“This partnership demonstrates that Bosch Rexroth is constantly developing sustainable technologies and new factory automation solutions for the Factory of the Future.” 

3D printed and metal plated fuel tanks. Photo via BigRep.
3D printed and metal plated fuel tanks. Photo via BigRep.

Additive and subtractive combine

In the industrialization of additive manufacturing, a number of developers are keen to combine the technology with more traditional, subtractive techniques.

Earlier this month, at the 2018 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, 3D Systems and GF Machining Solutions, unveiled the DMP Factory 500, an industrial, automated metal 3D printing system. This system also integrated subtractive manufacturing features, such as Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) – a process that uses the erosive effect of electrical bursts to shape metals.

Prior to this, Materialise and HCL Technologies entered a new hybrid manufacturing partnership to develop a software platform for the increased production of high-grade metal parts. This platform is targeted towards industries such as healthcare, automotive, aerospace, art and design, and consumer goods industries.

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Featured image shows 3D printed and metal plated fuel tanks. Photo via BigRep.