Micro AM: A True Innovation in Ever-Changing AM Industry
Through the use of the Fabrica 2.0 technology from Fabrica Group, manufacturers from across industry that require micron and sub-micron level accuracy and resolution for the first time have an additive manufacturing (AM) platform available.
MANUFACTUR3D interviewed with Avi Cohen, Executive Vice President of Global Sales at Fabrica Group, to learn more about Micro AM. Avi Cohen was working in different management and sales positions for more than two decades, and has a broad understanding of the industry trends and players.
“Through the use of this micro AM technology, manufacturers now, therefore, have the ability to benefit from the advantages of AM, such as the fact that AM is agnostic to part complexity, and it is possible to design and manufacture unique geometries. As such, the Fabrica 2.0 micro AM machine becomes an enabling technology, and a true stimulator of innovation, allowing the manufacture of parts and features previously impossible.”
“AM also requires no setup and tooling costs, and if you add to this that AM allows for mass customisation, personalization, and the ability to use the same manufacturing platform for prototyping, small batches, and mass manufacturing, the benefits now available for the micro manufacturing community are obvious” – Cohen added.
The Fabrica 2.0 Machine/Image Source: Fabrica Group
Nowhere more so than at leading micro molding company Accumold, which recently invested in a Fabrica 2.0 machine which was installed a few months ago at their headquarters in Ankeny, IO, USA. For many years, Accumold had been keeping an eye on AM / industrial 3D printing to see how the technology may be of use to its customers, but until introduced to Fabrica Group, all commercially available technologies fell short in terms of precision and tolerance attainment and speed and repeatability.
Avi Cohen commented, “Accumold sees the purchase of the Fabrica 2.0 as an important strategic move which will further reinforce its market-leading credentials in the micro moulding arena. It plays to the fact that the future of AM is not as a replacement to traditional manufacturing processes that the company uses on behalf of its customers daily, but is instead a complimentary technology that adds to the agility and versatility of the company’s product development services.”
With the Fabrica 2.0, Accumold is already catering for customers requiring low to medium-sized runs economically, as the same economies of scale do not exist when using AM as compared to traditional moulding technologies.
The Fabrica 2.0 can achieve micron and sub-micron level accuracy and resolution/Image Source: Fabrica Group
However, it is in the area of direct rapid soft tooling (DRST) that Accumold sees huge future opportunities. The accuracy of Fabrica 2.0 and the robustness of the materials used mean that the technology can produce DRSTs that can be used on traditional molding machines. This unlocks new business possibilities for Accumold and its customers, as up until this point the company had been restricted to the use of long lead time and expensive traditionally manufactured mold tools for the achievement of any volume of molding, from prototype, runs all the way through to mass manufacture.
The Fabrica 2.0 stimulates the business case for a process chain that includes DRST, with the possibility of dramatically shorter lead times from file to injected part and at costs reduced from thousands of dollars to tens. This will be a game-changer for some of Accumold’s customers.
Fabrica Group is proud to be able to attend the Formnext 2021 event in Frankfurt, Germany 16-19 November 2021, where attendees are invited to come and see the Fabrica 2.0 up close, and also look at some of the parts made using the technology which can achieve sub-micron tolerances. Fabrica Group will be on the Nano Dimension stand, Hall 12.1 booth C131.
Fabrica Group is aware — as the first mover in the micro AM space for production — that it needs to establish partnership relationships with its customers that extends from product inception through to mass manufacturing. As such, Formnext represents a perfect place for customers to engage and discuss the specifics of their particular applications.
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