Not everyone associates the Camozzi name with some of the largest and most high-profile 3D printing projects ever done, from the first full-size, fully 3D printed boat to giant tools and construction components. With the opening of the Camozzi Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) center in Milan, hosting MasterPrint, the world’s largest thermoplastic LFAM (large format additive manufacturing) 3D printer, that’s bound to change. At the Camozzi Machine Tools (CMT) booth at Formnext (11.0 C38), it will be possible to get a taste of what this enormous machine can do.
Masterprint is the tip of a giant iceberg. Its enclosure is as tall as a multistory building, and it extrudes composite GFR and CFR polymers at a rate of up to 500 Kg per hour. It is the flagship of the CMT. Integrating a 5-axis milling head for finishing operations, the system offers fast, reliable, and cost-effective performances, reducing lead time and cutting production costs up to 75% on massive parts. This will become increasingly clear as the demand for LFAM (large format additive manufacturing), especially with composite materials, continues to grow. In its latest report, 3dpbm expects the composites AM market segment to evolve into an over 10 billion revenue generation opportunity by 2030, and a big part of this is expected to come from large format AM technologies.
Masterprint’s primary uses today are in the space and aerospace industries. It has also been recently used to produce the single-piece beams of the San Giorgio Genoa bridge, which are made of carbon fiber structures. New applications are emerging every day for the automotive and maritime segments.
Enter the rabbit hole
To understand how the Camozzi Group has been able to develop the world’s most advanced LFAM system, it is useful to understand the Group’s underlying structure. Founded in 1964, the Camozzi Group is a multinational Italian company and a market leader in the production of components and innovative systems for industrial automation. It is also a relevant player in the integrated Industry Internet of Things (IloT 4.0) systems sector. Among 11 companies, consolidated in 5 divisions, the group’s CMT (Camozzi Machine Tools) division includes Ingersoll and Innse Berardi.
With revenues of €414 million in 2020, Camozzi Group is represented in 75 countries, through 40 subsidiaries and service centers, 2730 employees, and 25 production sites. Its 5 divisions include Automation (Camozzi Automation and Camozzi Technopolymers), Machine Tools (Innse Berardi and Ingersoll), Textile Machinery, Manufacturing (including metals, specialized machining and 3D molding of composite materials) and the Digital Division, specialized in IIoT solutions.
Masters of LFAM
This enormous, combined expertise has led to the development of five major LFAM platforms which rely on top-notch components and fine-tuned mechanics. Besides the record-breaking Masterprint, available with a 3-axis and 5-axis configuration and combining both additive and subtractive processes, the other LFAM systems include the Masterprint Linear, which offers XXL additive-only capabilities and the Masterprint Robotic, available as a hybrid system for 3D printing, milling, fiber placement, tape laying, inspection, trimming) with multiple modules operated by the same robot moving on rails.
The Masterprint 5X configuration enables printing at an angle or a print at a variable angle and also to overprint on existing structures. This is a true game-changer in 3D printing as it allows to print extensive overhangs without any support, opening up new geometrical possibilities. Finally, the Masterprint Continuous Filament is the company’s most technologically advanced machine, enabling 3D printing of continuous fiber-reinforced polymers, and featuring the ability to program, simulate and 3D print new parts or overprint on existing pieces.
Welcome to the CAM
The size of the new CAM center in Milan is perfectly suited to host the world’s largest 3D printer and the Camozzi Group has big plans for it. It is intended to become a knowledge hub and help the company and its partners develop the applications. The building is the former Innocenti Automobili facility, and the production of full-size car prototypes is one of the key applications where Masterprint technology can bring huge benefits in terms of speed and costs.
This means that CAM is now a fully operational and ready-for-business hub where customers can benefit in terms of both ensuring the continuity of production and accessing complete parts and components, even before they finalize the acquisition and internalization of the MasterPrint systems. The ability to obtain a workpiece produced and finished on the CAM center’s own MasterPrint system, on the basis of the customer’s exact design requirements, is a fundamental step allowing customers to efficiently transition towards a new and more efficient internal production workflow.
The most consolidated application segment for MasterPrint today is the aerospace industry, where it’s used to produce molds and tools. Production of unique large-format tools for the maritime and yachting industry has been identified as the next key area to develop. Other possible applications range from furniture to large format visual merchandising and even parts for housing construction. Not to forget the applications in the automotive and motorsport sectors. The only limit is literally the imagination.
CMT is also working closely with sister company Camozzi Digital to develop state-of-the-art ICTs, such as CMTNet, a solution for end-to-end production management and centralized control, and CMTRM, a suite of software tools that protectively delivers real-time real-world plant monitoring and predictive plant maintenance. At the company’s Formnext booth it will be possible to see how the software works on the MasterPrint system.