Pilz GmbH, whose full name is Produktentwicklungs-, Initiativ- und Lehrzentrum Finsterwalde/Lausitz GmbH, is a company that has been using the German RepRap x350Pro 3D printer for almost a year and has reaped considerable benefits from it in terms of production speed and costs. The 3D printing technology is primarily used for prototypes and initial samples of smaller assemblies. Attempts are also sometimes made to replace metal workpieces with plastic ones. The commercial use of 3D printing is also suitable for the supply of spare plastic components.
Carbon20 prototype Pilz GmbH is a regarded as an expert partner in the metal processing sector. As contract manufacturers, Pilz GmbH manufactures products that are tailored to customer specifications. This ranges from laser cut parts to folded plates and welded assemblies, right through to turned and milled parts. Its strengths are particularly in the field of pipe threading. The modern machine park and its own design department enable a high level of quality to be ensured. “We are particularly proud of our training center, in which we instruct school students from the area each year in how to work with metal,” explains Torsten Lehmann, CEO of Pilz GmbH. At the end of last year we also looked at the area of 3D printing to maintain our ability to keep up-to-date and fulfill the requirements of our customers. “As contract manufacturers and product developers we always have to keep up with the latest technical advances. 3D printing is slowly but surely becoming a subject of discussion with customers. We therefore decided to engage with this technology so that we didn't miss the opportunity.” We unanimously agreed to work with German RepRap, even though it was a case of “love at second sight,” explains Torsten Lehmann: “It was clear to us that we wanted to buy a 3D printer and so we looked at different models when visiting the Formnext trade fair. After we had gone round the German RepRap stand a second time we were all agreed that we could probably implement our ideas best of all with the x350Pro. As yet our expectations have not been disappointed.”
x350Pro produces component The benefits arising from using the x350Pro are primarily due to the speed of manufacturing prototypes and function samples. We can save here more than 75 % of the throughput times normally required. The use of 3D technology also has benefits in terms of costs. Samples produced from the 3D printer are around half the cost in comparison with conventional manufacturing. Pilz GmbH primarily uses two material for manufacturing: PLA and Carbon20. PLA, due to its easy processing in which virtually no reworking is required, and Carbon20, primarily due to its technical properties. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic is practically synonymous with extremely light and rugged components – the material produces very rigid components, such as for functional prototypes. Mr Lehmann smiles when materials are discussed: “As described and explained by German RepRap, each material has its particular strengths and weaknesses. Finding the optimum print parameters leads to the critical competitive edge and to a certain extent represents a trade secret.” “The rectangular build platform of the x350Pro sets new standards. Further highlights of this machine include the web interface, the new DD3 dual extruder and the “Made in Germany” solid metal design. In short: The x350 PRO is the ideal device for precise and reliable printing for industrial use. These aspects definitely played a part in the decision and we are pleased that Pilz GmbH has chosen our x350Pro,” explains Florian Bautz, CEO of German RepRap GmbH.