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BigRep-Bosch Rexroth partner to add advanced control systems in 3D printers

Next gen of BigRep products will increasingly target industrial users

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BigRep, a leader in large-scale thermopolymer extrusion 3D printers, and Bosch Rexroth, one of the world’s leading suppliers of drive and control technologies, are partnering to equip state-of-art CNC control systems and drives on its next generation of BigRep-Bosch Rexroth powered systems.

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

Additive Manufacturing is establishing itself as a manufacturing technology for the Factory of the Future and has already had a significant impact on prototyping and small serial production. The company has already partnered with several highly demanding players in the AM industry, including binder jetting systems manufacturer voxeljet and metal wire deposition system producer Norsk Titanium. In this latter case, Bosch Rexroth supplied the customized drive and control solutions for Norsk’s patented Rapid Plasma Deposition Merke IV machines in Europe as well as to fulfill a surge of orders bound for the U.S. market.

BigRep-Bosch Rexroth
One of the real-size finished products that can be manufactured on a BigRep system. Image credits: BigRep

With voxeljet’s binder jetting systems the requirements are even higher due to both the large format and high-resolution capabilities of its VX1000 systems. In this case, the 20 kg print head of the machine VX1000 is guided along the y-axis by means of a gantry axis with two Rexroth tooth-belt driven MKR-080-NN-2 linear modules – at traversing speeds of up to 1 m/s. Along the x-axis, an MKK-080-NN-2 linear module with ball screw drive facilitates the positioning of the print head with a repeat accuracy of 0.005 mm. Rexroth ball rail systems are used to guide the sandbox along the z-axis. The backlash-free roller rail systems are suitable for micro-movements between 100 and 350 μm and high loads up to 400 kg. Even higher precision can be facilitated by means of the linear module MKR-080-NN-2 with an integrated measuring system MSI-I, which will be tested in the near future. This configuration allows the positioning of the print head with repeat accuracies of +/-0.25 μm, which previously required the use of glass scales.

The new partnership with BigRep further confirms that Bosch Rexroth is committed to exploring and exploiting additive manufacturing technology for all types of industrial systems. On the one hand, the specialist for drive and control technologies is using the process to enable the fast and cost-efficient creation of models, patterns, prototypes, tools and end products. On the other hand, the company offers 3D printing components and solutions. Thomas Fechner, Director of the Business Unit New Business at Bosch Rexroth, clarified that: “[this partnership demonstrates that] Bosch Rexroth is constantly developing sustainable technologies and new factory automation solutions for the Factory of the Future.“

By combining the experts in drive and control technologies with the experts in large-scale 3D printing, the additive industry will see faster and more cost-efficient creation of models, patterns, prototypes, tools and end-use products. BigRep and Bosch Rexroth are thus committed to reshaping manufacturing together.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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