Pennsylvania State University recently acquired a new 3D printing system from Italo-American AM company Roboze. The 3D printer, a ROBOZE One+400 Xtreme, will be used at the university’s Department of Chemical Engineering, one of the U.S.’ most influential chemical engineering departments.
Penn State is an undeniable force on the academic side of additive manufacturing. The university, which has led courses on AM as well as developed various AM-related technologies, is particularly notable for its Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D). The center houses several additive manufacturing systems—now including Roboze’s One+400 Xtreme—which enables researchers to pursue vital work to drive the industrialization of 3D printing.
Compatible with high-performance materials, the Roboze One+400 Xtreme 3D printer will be used by the lab to study polymer materials to better understand the potential of AM for manufacturing custom equipment, as well as other applications.
“ROBOZE One+400 Xtreme will be used to examine novel polymers to help to fundamentally understand the 3D printing process and as a tool to enable custom equipment more cost effectively than can be obtained with machining metals while also allowing for designs not possible with traditional manufacture” explained Prof. Bryan D. Vogt from the Department of Chemical Engineering. “The ROBOZE One+400 Xtreme will allow Penn State to leverage its expertise in materials science, engineering and characterization to enable new solutions to problems through additive manufacturing.”
Roboze’s system was chosen for a number of reasons, including its compatibility with a broad range of polymer-based materials, including PEEK and other high-performance plastics, as well as its precision. This degree of precision for an FFF printer is enabled by Roboze’s unique Beltless System, which helps to ensure repeatability, smoothness and positioning precision.
“The ability to use custom filaments and control the print processing was a critical factor in selecting ROBOZE,” added Prof. Vogt. “The flexibility allowed by ROBOZE along with its excellent printing capabilities is well aligned with the discovery-oriented research mission of the university to expand knowledge and its application. Moreover, our prior 3D printer had issues printing high temperature engineering plastics like PEEK with severe deformation of the structure generally observed. After challenges with printing PEEK with standard belt driven systems, the novel direct drive approach with the ROBOZE was an added bonus.”
With its expanded 3D printing capability, the Department of Chemical Engineering at Penn State will have the tools to test new polymers and develop new material formulations. The researchers will also 3D print parts to support research in adjacent fields. For example, the team will explore chemical reactors, where 3D printed geometries have the potential to improve performance.
“The versatility of the ROBOZE solution was a key factor in the selection,” Prof. Vogt concluded. “There is not a specific application in mind but rather there are a multitude of problems that can be addressed with the performance of the ROBOZE One+400 Xtreme printer, where the combination of precision and flexibility in materials is unprecedented.”