Enhancing packaging machinery for customers.
Additive manufacturing has proved particularly important for several key applications in industrial robotic packaging machinery, including protective cases, cable support systems, and junction boxes, to name a few. When it comes to robotic packaging systems in particular, every single component matters in order to ensure the robot’s agility, precision, and speed of movement.
According to Fortunati, this is an area where high-performance 3D printing materials have made a huge difference. “With our FDM 3D printers, we have the freedom to design and produce customized components with complex geometries in timeframes simply unachievable with CNC machining. But we can also significantly reduce the weight of components, which is essential,” said Fortunati. “Using tough and durable thermoplastics such as Stratasys’ FDM Nylon 12CF™ or ULTEM™ 9085 resin in place of traditionally machined metal components has enabled us to reduce the weight of some parts by at least 30%,” he explained. “This not only increases the speed of movement and productivity of the robot for our customers, but it also lessens the rate of degradation. Importantly, these 3D printed materials also comply with specific industry regulations, which is enabling us to expand this technology into even more production applications – helping us to further innovate our products for customers.”
Marchesini Group is also using Stratasys PolyJet technology to produce parts and components for applications requiring the combination of two or more materials. “One great example of this technology is for the production of grasping pincers, which are designed to handle light items such as package leaflets or smaller jars. With the advanced multi-material 3D printing capability, we can produce complex designs that combine hard and rubber-like materials in one single print – something that would typically take multiple processes to create costing us time and money,” added Fortunati.
The 3D printers within Marchesini Group’s additive manufacturing department is currently running round the clock. Fortunati concluded, “It’s fair to say that additive manufacturing is an integral part of Marchesini Group production. In fact, in 2019 we recorded a total of 22,480 hours of operation for our FDM 3D printing equipment – equating to almost 15 hours a day. For our two PolyJet 3D printers, a total of 1,700 hours of operation, the equivalent of about 8 hours a day. As we continue to expand these technologies across our design and production process, we can expect these fi gures to be even higher in the future.”