As an open innovation platform, Plug and Play Istanbul aims to establish connections between cutting-edge startups with Turkish corporations to support innovation and Industry 4.0 in the country’s many sectors, including energy, mobility, manufacturing and more. It was through this networking framework that one of Turkey’s largest industrial groups found local 3D printing company LOOP 3D and discovered the potential of its robust technology.
The company in question is Aygaz, Turkey’s leading energy supplier, which specializes in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Aygaz was founded in 1961 and offers LPG products and services across the country and abroad. Specifically, Aygaz supplies LPG cylinders, provides storage and filling services and manufactures and sells LPG devices for the consumer market. Today, the company serves over 40,000 households, close to 81 cities and supplies fuel to nearly 200,000 vehicles.
How Aygaz met LOOP 3D
Aygaz has committed itself to exploring and pursuing new trends in its sector. In 2018, for instance, the company established an R&D center. In the beginning, the center was operated by 18 experts. In 2021, Aygaz expanded the center (from 772 square meters to 1,437 square meters) and ramped up the team to 28 people. The R&D team is continuing its mission to develop and explore new technologies that will create value for Aygaz’s business processes and stakeholders. And that’s where LOOP 3D comes in.
Aygaz is one of Plug and Play Istanbul’s corporate partners and through it has access to 10,000 startups from around the world. Among them, LOOP 3D stood out for its 3D printing technology, which could enable Aygaz to increase the quality and efficiency of its prototyping workflows and speed up product development on the whole.
“We handed Plug and Play Istanbul our goals and expectations for developing new business models, digitalization and bringing our processes together with technological innovations,” explains Taha Erdem Yıldırım, Research and Development Assistant Manager at Aygaz. “They quickly submitted the most suitable companies that would meet our expectations and considerations.” As you might have guessed, LOOP 3D’s technology fit the brief.
Who is LOOP 3D
LOOP 3D is an industrial-grade 3D printer manufacturer that was established by Teknodizayn, a 3D printing reseller with over a decade of experience. The company developed its first beta 3D printer model in 2017. In 2019, it launched its first hardware system at Formnext, the LOOP 3D printer. Since then, the company has expanded its footprint beyond the Turkish market, with a Technology Park in Wroclaw, Poland to serve the European and global markets. All LOOP 3D’s machines are manufactured in Ankara, Turkey at the Teknodizayn HQ.
LOOP 3D’s latest platform, the LOOP PRO X, is an industrial-grade FFF system with a maximum build volume of 500 x 350 x 500 mm. The system is built robustly and features a CNC-milled unibody aluminum chassis for high-quality prints. LOOP 3D also integrates modular electronic components, such as the printhead, Core box, Connect Box, extruder and calibration check tool to minimize the impact of potential issues without creating the need for on-site technical service. The LOOP PRO X also features a flexible build plate for easy part removal. One of the machine’s most notable characteristics is its compatibility with high-temperature and composite materials, specifically DYNAMIDE® carbon fiber and glass fiber reinforced filaments. These reinforced composite materials demonstrate excellent mechanical and physical properties.
It was all these specifications that drew Aygaz to LOOP 3D’s solutions. “LOOP 3D’s product provided a suitable solution for our needs in terms of printing dimensions,” says Burak Yaman, Research and Development Manager at Ayraz. “The other solution we were searching for was to print materials with high mechanical and temperature resistance in an easy way.”
A successful pilot project
To launch their newfound partnership, Aygaz and LOOP 3D worked together to 3D print a Camp Furnace product, traditionally constructed from two parts, one plastic and the other steel. One of the key goals of the pilot project was to demonstrate the temperature resistance of the 3D printed parts. As a result, the components were 3D printed using the LOOP PRO X system and DYNAMIDE® GF, a glass-fiber-reinforced polyamide known for its good strength-to-weight ratio and excellent thermal resistance.
According to Fatih Durmuş, Research and Development Engineer at Aygaz, the pilot project was an immense success. “The pieces printed very successfully,” he says. “We also had the opportunity to use and evaluate the parts in tests at the first stage.” In other words, the high-temperature material enabled the R&D team to conduct functional tests on the 3D printed furnace components. The large size of the 3D printer also enabled Aygaz to produce the camp furnace parts as single pieces, eliminating the need for any additional assembly.
Erkan Ustaoğlu, Founder of LOOP 3D, says: “When we started working with Aygaz, we saw that the features Aygaz needed and the features that we had been working on for years were really similar. We trusted the capabilities of our product, especially in producing parts with a large printing area, parts with high mechanical strength and parts with high heat resistance. We were very motivated by the fact that the capabilities of our product met our customer expectations.”
Ultimately, LOOP 3D’s additive manufacturing solution gives Ayraz the ability to rapidly iterate and test prototype designs for its LPG products, which in turn will enable it to streamline and accelerate product development cycles. With the success of the partners’ first pilot project, we at 3dpbm are eager to see where else their collaboration will lead and what new innovations can be developed.
This article was published in collaboration with LOOP 3D.