Try, for a moment, to imagine them all together ordered in long rows in the different production departments. The golden reflections of brass weighing one and a half times the weight of Tour Eiffel that, every year, are machined into the form of components for thermal and renewable energy systems.
What can be seen are numerous items that, continuously, are adjusted to market demand and, therefore, refined, updated, modified. An enormous design and production effort that, in order to be accomplished accurately and within ever tighter deadlines, requires the use of state-of-the-art technology.
Caleffi chooses additive manufacturing
What you are imagining is the Caleffi catalog, consisting of more than 7,000 items that are constantly being updated, to which new ones are constantly being added. To meet this need, Caleffi has decided to further implement 3D technology, as Alessandro Giustina, designer of the automatic assembly and packaging systems built in-house, explains.
“We chose additive manufacturing in order to reduce the lead time for some of the equipment needed for production, avoiding machining with chip removal so as not to involve the in-house machine shop. Also, because of the relative simplicity of the 3d printer, we have direct management and total control of the parts we make. To give you an idea of our utilization, the printer has an annual utilization of about 2.000 hours.“
A 3D printer from 3ntr in Caleffi
The 3D printer installed at Caleffi is an A4V4 from 3ntr, a powerful and compact machine that is perfect for both production departments and R&D labs. With its 300 x 171 x 200 mm print volume, active chamber heating and three extruders, it constitutes a high-level professional solution. In addition, it is capable of printing a breadth of polymers 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, without interruption.
Additive manufacturing: the reasons for the choice
We asked A. Giustina to tell us in more detail what had been the reasons for choosing additive manufacturing and how Caleffi had learned about 3D printing solutions and, specifically, 3ntr:
“A company in the Caleffi group had been using a 3D printer from 3ntr for some time. We inquired about its operation and performance, and felt that such a machine could meet our needs. As I said, we were looking for a printer to build production support equipment and, in particular, to make components for use in both manual workstations and automated plants and for building prototypes of new products…“
Specifically, Giustina shared with us a list of the polymers used and components that Caleffi makes through 3ntr’s A4V4:
- Components for automatic assembly machines and manual workstations, such as workstations for housing parts during production stages (employing ABS and, in the case of parts with electronic components, ABS ESD, capable of shielding from electrostatic discharge).
- Co-molded components, to reduce dents on parts or to increase the gripping force of pneumatic gripper claws. In this case we use ABS and ELASTO 95, so that in a single print we can make components with a rigid part (in contact with the machine) and a softer part (to create the suction cup effect of pneumatic grippers).
- Prototypes of new products, so they can share them “physically” with the technical division, benefiting from the great advantage of being able to view the part in its solid form, in addition to what is visible on the screen in 3D processing software.
3D: versatile and fast, in a changing world
Precisely in order to provide companies, and large market players, with the right tools to keep up with the times, we at 3ntr make 3D printers capable of high performance, short printing times, and the ability to co-print evolved next-generation materials. This is also why we tend to distinguish ourselves in the complex and diverse 3D printing market with the label “no toys here“.
3ntr partners with companies that know that 3D printing is not a game, but a cutting-edge professional solution. One of the technologies that, the most, are contributing and will contribute to reshaping the future of manufacturing, in the coming years.
To learn more about 3ntr, contact us via the form and visit our Business Page on Linkedin.
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