From prototype to pre-series, from design to product. With an increasingly simplified approach to printers and management software, 3D printing is emerging as an increasingly suitable solution for production as well as research and development.
In this article – dedicated to KSS Engineering and its decision to bring an A2V4 printer into production – we talk about how one of our printers was used to create templates, as well as grippers and gripper hands for industrial robots, thanks to its ability to co-print rigid polymers and TPU. Federico Orlando, Managing Director of KSS Engineering, spoke to us.
KSS Engineering: service for the manufacturing industry
With more than 15 years of experience in the field, KSS Engineering supports companies operating in the manufacturing industry throughout the entire production process: from CAD design to CAM programming, to the creation of prototypes and components for automation, thanks to additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies.
More specifically, the services offered to manufacturing industries by KSS Engineering include a range of considerations that have 3D printing and the benefits of additive manufacturing at their core:
- Production of prototypes and pre-series batches.
- Industrial automation.
- Components for moulds.
- Prototype core moulds
- Complete moulds or components for lost-wax investment casting
- Pilot moulds for injection moulding
Problems encountered and objectives achieved
We asked Federico Orlando, Managing Director of KSS Engineering, what issues arose in Production and how these prompted his company to introduce additive manufacturing solutions to circumvent them and achieve the goals the company had set itself.
Problems in production? Switching to 3D printing
«The main problem we had, in production, concerned the print volume. Always too small, it didn’t allow us to make prototypes and components that were right for us. In addition, we needed to be fast in printing and competitive in metal replacement, which is growing a lot in our target sectors: industrial automation, printers, CNC workshops.».
That is why, at KSS Engineering, an A2V4 has arrived: a large-format industrial 3D printer with a print volume of 600 x 325 x 500 mm that allows the 3D printing of large components (or, of course, hundreds of small parts, thanks to nesting and the support of dedicated software).
Additive manufacturing: objectives and results
«As far as our goals are concerned,” Orlando proceeds, “we wanted to be able to expand our 3D printing service with a bigger printer, so we started researching this. Then, through a contact of ours, who was already using 3ntr printers, we discovered this Italian brand and chose it. The A2v4 printer was in the reference price range, entirely made in Italy, and offered us the possibility of co-printing two materials, even on large print volumes, thanks to the extruder with 3 nozzles.».
Thanks to the A2v4 3D printer, KSS Engineering has started co-printing large components in rigid polymers and TPU, even in large quantities and for long periods of time, because this 3D printer model boasts active chamber heating and 3 extruders whose temperature is kept constant by a liquid cooling system (3ntr’s pride and joy since 2014).
But how were the 3ntr printers used? And what, specifically, did they help to achieve, supporting KSS Engineering? We asked the Administrator, who provided us with further interesting details…
Solutions: which 3D printed components?
«As I said, co-printing of materials has been the biggest advantage for KSS Engineering. Being able to ‘mix’ rigid polymers with various shore rubbers has taken us a step further and opened up a world of possibilities, especially in the production of components for internal use in industrial automation. In particular, we were able to 3D print grippers for industrial robots.».
3D printed automation components
Going into even more detail – about components and solutions made with additive manufacturing – Mr. Orlando described KSS Engineering’s activities as a service provider in the production of automation components, describing the working methods, timing and flexibility that 3D printing technologies have brought to production
«The customer sends us the 3D file of the part to be machined in a machining centre, in a robot head, or in a metrology station. Using CAD, and thanks to the experience gained from years of CAM service, we design jigs which are then produced using 3D printers and a small 3-axis milling centre. The lead time is usually 1 or 2 days, sometimes only hours. As for emergencies, we handle them promptly, to ensure maximum productivity for our customers working around the clock.».
3D printing: the positive impact on costs, productivity, revenues
We asked to Mr. Orlando if, by using our products, it is possible to measure the impact on costs, any improvements in productivity and increased revenues. Furthermore, we asked if it is possible to make a comparison between traditional and additive manufacturing technologies:
«Robot handling and machining of brass and aluminium moulded parts require gripping systems that do not mark the part, but at the same time must have the same durability as metal components. Through the use of additive, we have solved these problems by using technical materials that are resistant to oil and high temperatures, with the advantage of having a material that does not mark the workpieces. In addition to this, 3D printing allows the parts to be produced in a single placement, which significantly lowers lead times and related costs.».
Additive manufacturing: what benefits in production?
Added to the above are the advantages already described above:
- Being able to co-print materials
- Having generous print sizes
To which are added two more, not secondary:
- Expand the customer base (being able to process more orders in less time, and being able to fulfil more requests)
- Avoid annoying downtime of gluing together multiple printed parts, because the components leave the 3D printer already complete and working
3ntr: easy hardware, easy software
Based on KSS Engineering’s experience with 3ntr’s 3D printing solutions – of more than 6 months – we asked Orlando to tell us whether it was easy or difficult to use the A2V4 printer and SSI, the professional 3D printing software entirely developed by 3ntr.
«RWe consider your product easy to use under standard conditions. For more technical prints, however, previous experience is required. As for the software, it too is easy to use.».
Explore the world of 3D printersMore and more companies are taking a step into the world of 3D printing, additive manufacturing and Fused Deposition Modelling. You can find more success stories and inspiration in our company blog. Or, you can contact us via the form on our website, to get all the answers you are looking for.
One day, this story could be your story. Contact us to discover our professional solutions for 3D Printing . With the help of our consultants we will find new solutions for your design and production .
Give your business new strength with 3ntr 3D printers .