Significant AM Process Chain Innovations & Possibly the Most Innovative Stand in the Show’s History
As is tradition, Formnext — the Additive Manufacturing (AM) industry’s premier event of the year — will once again take place at the Frankfurt Messe, in November. Building on Additive Manufacturing Technology’s (AMTs) fast growth trajectory since its inception in 2017, the company will be taking its place on the show floor among the great and the good in 3D printing and AM.
Style and substance will be the defining qualities of AMT’s unique and eye-catching stand at Formnext 2019 (Hall 12.1, Booth E61). The company will present and exhibit a modular, fully customizable and reusable 84 metre square stand construction, featuring more than 6000 3D printed and post-processed parts, that connect 1100 metres of lightweight Aluminium tubing to create the overall aesthetic of the 4m high, show-stopping booth. The stand has been designed and constructed by Steel Roots Design, in collaboration with AMT. Steel Roots Design specializes in the design and manufacture of commercial furniture and interiors, including bespoke exhibition spaces. With a dedicated team of designers and makers, the company is based in Sheffield and works with clients across the UK.
Tom Warren, Director at Steel Roots Design, commented on this project: “Working with AMT to design their stand for Formnext 2019 has been a truly amazing project to be involved In. Using 3D printing technology and AMT’s post processing to make something on this scale has been really exciting and unchartered territory for the industry. With around 6,000 3D printed components and over 1km of pole material the structure is a unique feat of engineering, and a great challenge for the Steel Roots Design team. We are delighted with the results and proud that the modular, completely reusable frame material will mean something versatile, lasting and reusable, which moves away from the wasteful tradition of exhibition stand builds.”
Joseph Crabtree, AMT’s CEO, further commented: “The whole point of exhibiting at a show like Formnext is to demonstrate your technologies and capabilities. At AMT we don’t want to just tell people how good our technologies are, we want to really show them. Our unique stand will show how functional and sustainable 3D printed parts — even at higher volumes — can be utilised when using our automated post processing technologies.”
The 6,061 3D printed components of AMT’s unique stand have been printed by Belgian service provider Materialise, using the EOS SLS process, in the Nylon PA 2200 material. They were then subsequently post-processed using AMT’s PostPro3D platform. One function (among many) of the PostPro3D is surface modification of the parts, without altering the geometry of the parts out of tolerance. This allows for the creation of a non-porous surface that prevents water and dirt ingress, which is an essential requirement for this application considering the environment of the parts during construction of the stand, show-days and de-construction. Moreover, the reconfigurable nature of the stand design means that the parts can be reused to create customized stands for future events. The entire AMT stand structure for Formnext weighs in at only 120 Kg, making it easy and economical to ship the components from event to event in the future, while minimizing the carbon footprint of doing so. According to Crabtree: “This level of sustainability commitment is a fundamental principle for AMT at every level of the business. Every decision we make takes sustainability into consideration.”
As for many applications where 3D printing is a good fit, the 3D printed parts of the stand are only part of the overall solution. These connecting parts have complex geometries, with internal threads and moving features that would not have been economically viable using any other process. Nor could they have been produced quickly enough. They also needed to be light weight.
Once constructed in Frankfurt, the booth will house a number of new AMT innovations that will be introduced at Formnext for the first time. This includes the fully automated Digital Manufacturing System (DMS) developed by AMT for AM applications and featuring innovative robotic systems that are digitally connected with the AM system and all post-processing steps, including de-powdering, the PostPro3D and inspection.
As well as being available on their stand during show hours, the AMT team will also be contributing to other elements of the Formnext programme across the 4-day show.