Caracol’s all-encompassing offering makes LFAM easier than ever before

With the introduction of two new major innovations - the High Flow Extruder and the Automatic Printing Bed

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The additive manufacturing industry’s interest in robotic printing solutions and other forms of Large Format AM is increasing rapidly – as was made obvious at this year’s Formnext, in Frankfurt.

With fiber-reinforced materials, and the abilities and cost efficiencies generated by printing using granules, it is becoming easier and more practical to print parts well above the square meter.

What started out as a research project focused on overcoming the limits of existing AM technologies, in 2015, resulted in the founding of Caracol as a company, in 2017. Since then, the Caracol team has pioneered the LFAM segment – becoming Italy’s first LFAM company with AS/EN 9100 certification.

After years of development, and countless case studies, Caracol launched its Heron AM platform to the market in September this year. Heron AM is well-suited for the manufacturing of an extensive range of parts across different industrial sectors, including structural elements, tooling, prototypes, metal replacement parts, the temporary or permanent substitution of parts, and a wide array of other applications.

Caracol’s all-encompassing offering makes LFAM easier than ever before - with the High Flow Extruder and the Automatic Printing Bed. Then, once again at Formnext, the company announced two new major innovations – the High Flow Extruder and the Automatic Printing Bed.

Caracol’s new High Flow Extruder was built to be the solution needed to create larger and more complex parts, thanks to the high throughput. The higher temperature, which can get up to 450°C, was introduced to process an increasingly extended range of technical polymers and composites with higher-melting points – while still maintaining the best properties and print quality thanks to the greater thermal control.

In addition to this, the extruder incorporates a set of features that enable greater control, performance, and flexibility – including sensors for temperature, material feeding, and monitoring of production parameters.

The High Flow Extruder was developed to print larger parts than previously possible – such as aerospace tools, entire boat hulls, and single-part architectural installations, to name just a few. While ensuring greater stability and quality on larger parts, thanks to the extruder’s optimization, it also enables notably high-speed printing – with a throughput ranging between 20-30 kg/h. All this makes Caracol’s platform competitive with bigger gantry systems while, at the same time, maintaining the flexibility and the 6+ axes that only the robotic support can provide.

Caracol’s all-encompassing offering makes LFAM easier than ever before - with the High Flow Extruder and the Automatic Printing Bed.

Caracol’s recently-presented Automatic Printing Bed was designed (and patented) with a focus on two main features – to improve the mechanical grip for the first layer, as well as to help automate the production process.

The first, the improved mechanical grip for the first layer, is due to a structure of aluminum slats that ensure the first printed layers perfectly adhere to the surface of the bed – guaranteeing a greater stability of the part during the print.

The rotating structure of the bed then introduces the ability to print endlessly by enabling the automatic release of the part at the end of the job – potentially extending the X-axis infinitely, and allowing the system to continue printing parts one after the other.

In conjunction with the high temperatures of the High Flow Extruder, this new print bed is also heated – once again, ensuring that the system can easily work with the most advanced materials with higher melting points and that require higher thermal control.

Examples of Caracol’s technology’s previous applications include an array of aerospace tooling for drilling, trilling, and other operations, finished parts for the marine sector that have been already validated, tested, and mounted on yachts, as well as that of creating the world’s largest motorcycle helmet, for Valentino Rossi, in celebration of the 9x motorcycle racing World Champion’s career – measuring 6m x 4m and weighing more 400kg; and Yamamay’s giant “Y” sculpture at the company’s HQ in Gallarate, Italy – which measures 3m x 2.7m, weighs 170kg, and is made from 100% recycled polypropylene (with CSI certification).

These examples clearly prove Caracol’s market credibility as the go-to partner for the manufacturing of previously impossible, or impractically-large, objects.

Composites AM 2024

746 composites AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core composites AM market generated over $785 million in 2023. Market expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2033 at 25.8% CAGR. This new...

Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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