Automated 3D printing for highly individual production

The printer farm: IPH integrated nine 3D printers into industrial value chain. (Photo: IPH)

IPH | By automating process steps, additive manufacturing can be integrated into industrial value chains. The Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) gGmbH has been designing a process chain linking 3d printers and mounting stations automatically.

There is a great market demand for individual products. However, customers are not ready to pay for them. One approach to solve this conflict is automated additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing.

Within the scope of a research project, IPH researchers have been designing a demonstrator process chain linking several additive extrusion systems for the production of plastic parts with downstream mounting stations automatically. The core of the overall concept is a printer farm: a rack with several 3D printers. By using several smaller systems, the output of a large production plant can be achieved with considerably less investment costs. To evaluate the results, IPH produces sample parts, which are then processed by mounting stations.

by Alexander Oleff and Alexander Poschke

Image gallery for this article

  • The printer farm: IPH integrated nine 3D printers into industrial value chain. (Photo: IPH)
  • A delicate job: Two-finger gripper removes additively manufactured parts from printer farm and delivers them to mounting system. (Photo: IPH)
  • Intelligente Material- und Informationsflüsse müssen adaptiv auf veränderte Bedingungen reagieren können. (Quelle: IPH)
  • Intelligent material and information flows must be able to adapt to modified conditions autonomously. (Source: IPH)
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