CEAD and Siemens bringing new AM Flexbot solution to Formnext

The modular system combines CEAD's composite AM technology with CNC milling

CEAD, a Netherlands-based provider of large-scale, composite 3D printing, and Siemens are expanding on an existing collaboration and will be jointly presenting their latest development, the AM Flexbot, at Formnext next week. The new system is a modular, hybrid technology for precision, large-scale parts.

Specializing in polymer and fiber-reinforced 3D printing, CEAD is perhaps best known for its CFAM Prime 3D printer. Based on its patented Continuous Fiber Additive Manufacturing (CFAM), the gantry-based 3D printer is capable of printing fiber reinforced parts measuring up to 4 x 2 x 1.5 m at rapid rates (average of 15 kg/hour). The CFAM Prime, which was named as a finalist in the JEC Innovation Awards, is powered and controlled by Siemens’ Sinumerik 840D sl, which enables accurate deposition movement.

The new AM Flexbot is also controlled by Siemens’ technology. In this case, however, it integrates Sinumerik CNC with Run MyRobot/Direct Control as well as a Comau robot arm and CEAD’s single screw extruder unit. The hybrid machine, with both additive and CNC components, can build parts up and achieve higher precision by milling the print down to its final dimensions.

CEAD’s CFAM Prime

According to the partners, the AM Flexbot’s robot kinematics are fully integrated into a CNC system with the Comau and Sinumerik RunMyRobot/Direct Control solution. The system is thus able to deposit material with a degree of precision and then have the part milled to an ever greater degree of accuracy. CEAD is also reportedly planning on adding other features to the new solution as well.

“By using Siemens’ Sinumerik Run MyRobot /Direct Control together with a Comau robot arm in our latest solution, we are able to deliver a modular system scalable to fit our customer’s needs as many different functions can be added at any time,” said Lucas Janssen, Co-Founder and Operations Director at CEAD. “We are very pleased to work with Siemens and their reliable products.”

As mentioned, the new system will be on show at Formnext next week. After the event, Siemens plans to install a CEAD 3D printing system at its Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (AMEC) in Erlangen, Germany. There, the system will demonstrate to clients and potential clients the potential of large-scale 3D printing with thermoplastic composites.

“We are delighted showing an industrial solution from CEAD for multi-axis composite printing combining Comau’s robotics, CEAD’s Additive Manufacturing and our best in class CNC technology,” added Dr. Karsten Heuser, Vice President Additive Manufacturing at Siemens Digital Industries. “The end-to-end offering integrated with our Digital Enterprise portfolio addresses an important need for large scale, highly flexible and economically efficient industrial applications at the same time.”

Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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