Lindner Group makes its way from prototyping to small series production with a x400 3D printer
The Lindner Group, a family business based in Arnstorf, Bavaria in Germany, is Europe's leading specialist in the fields of interior design, facade and insulation technology. The company has approximately 6,000 employees, including Benjamin Kapfinger and Hermann Straubinger working in their CAD Department. There have been several subjects of interest related to 3D printing since the last few years. Frequently prototypes are to be produced. For example, prototypes of extruded profiles for cable bushings. This used to be accomplished in the past by actually cutting the material. “These were costs of 800 to 1000 euros only for a functional prototype," said Benjamin Kapfinger. They wanted to introduce 3D printing to be faster and cheaper.
After an extensive market research, it was decided at the Lindner Group to purchase a 3D printer x400 from the German manufacturer German RepRap. One of the main criteria was system balance, meaning the space in combination with an affordable price. "We did not know how our new service would strike the market, so we spend our capital wisely," says Kapfinger’s colleague, Hermann Straubinger. "In addition to the price, what convinced us about German RepRap is the expertise and support of the staff there." There are not many models which Benjamin Kapfinger and Hermann Straubinger have not yet printed. Benjamin Kapfinger, said, holding a demonstration model in hand showing a detail of a ceiling panel with rosettes about 30 x 20 cm: "We have already presented this to the customer. The original is later thermoformed and gilded. The next object is a base plate with an oblique tube. Here you could imagine what the CAD drawing looks like, but can’t touch it in real life. Even door seals that are still in the design phase, can be designed and engineered to be ready to use on the 3D printer. Even a complete model of a roof construction in 1:25 scale has already been printed."
"We have never had poor results. You will often see the machines runing over 24 hours and successfully produce a printed model - with no problems. The dimensional accuracy is very good. "It’s 0.25 mm thickness is 99 percent adequate," said Hermann Straubinger. Most important is the accuracy of the X and Y axis, and that no offset of the layers lets the one above rise. The service will be well received by the departments around the globe, with an upward trend. Meanwhile we would also take requests towards small production series of up to 1000 pieces.
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