3D Printing ProcessesComposites

CIKONI introduces AdditiveCARBON method for optimal 3D printing of composites

Combines SLS and continuous fibers

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The design freedom of 3D printing combined with the performance of carbon composites: CIKONI shows how this can be achieved with its AdditiveCARBON innovative and cost-efficient lightweight technology.

Carbon fibers in the load direction

Additive manufacturing enables almost unlimited freedom of design – a characteristic that allows for innovative design methods, especially for lightweight solutions. However, the material properties are so far not comparable to the high load-bearing capacities of carbon fiber composites. CFRP plays its strengths when the load acts preferentially along the fiber direction.

AdditiveCARBON allows for manufacturing of hybrid structures by means of a combined and fully automated approach in which the carbon fiber reinforcement directly follows the load paths and the additive base structure serves as support for compressive loading.

Intelligent material pairing

So far, in additive manufacturing a larger building volume leads to higher production costs and longer production times. In typical composites production, in turn, tooling costs, inefficient material utilization and waste lead to high overall costs.

AdditiveCARBON seeks to eliminate the limitations of both technologies by means of a targeted hybridization: the carbon fiber reinforcement reduces the necessary building volume of the 3D printing part and the additively manufactured base structure makes a separate tool unnecessary for the robot-supported 3D winding process. A symbiosis, which has a positive impact not least on the cost side.

Application for medical and  aerospace

The approach is particularly interesting where lightweight design requirements are combined with distinct component variability. AddtiveCARBON enables higher productivity, individual prostheses and ultralight aircraft structures.

To ensure that the process can also be applied in cost-sensitive areas, CIKONI engineers have also developed a modular system with hybridized injection-molded and metal components, from which larger structures can be quickly configured from modules. The holistic approach has already convinced numerous customers to rethink their view on lightweight design.

CIKONI is an engineering partner for lightweight design specializing on composites materials. The company was founded in 2015 by former employees of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and the German Aerospace Center in Stuttgart. It bundles sector-specific development expertise from conceptual design to manufacturing. The awards won by the team emphasize the commitment to creativity, innovation and expertise in the development of inspiring lightweight solutions.

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