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3D printing - groundbreaking future technology

At the beginning of 2017, the hpl-Group decided to invest in a 3D Printer as a support for the company's engineering, sales and marketing activities.


A 3D Printer with a maximum print size of 200 x 200 x 200 mm (HxWxD) was finally chosen. Using a simplified 3D model, it offers the possibility to print 3D workpieces or sub-assemblies made of plastics. Depending on size and accuracy, the CAD data must be processed before the real 3D print process can be started. This ensures that the resolution is not too complex and fine for dosing the Extruder nozzles.

After the printer has been set up for first use and the first test runs have been carried out successfully by the IT employees, the 3D printer has been released to the hpl design Department. Access to the printer is solely granted to the CAD Administration ensuring that the print data are checked before the print process is started.   

When starting the printing process, the raw material (plastic filament wound on a spool; Ø 2.85 mm) is heated to 200 °C in the print head, melted and then pressed through the nozzle. Very thin plastic fibers are generated which are printed in single layers in horizontal direction. The surface quality is significantly influenced by the set layer thickness (e.g. 0.15 mm). 

The new printer has been used for the first time to model a roll contour for a pilot research line. The 3D illustrative model enabled an open communication with the customer about the correct clearance of lower to upper work roll contour. The customer had the possibility to communicate change requests and the original parts were released to manufacture.