Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Popp, Managing Director of Apium Additive Technologies GmbH

Special Show for 3D Printing at Motek 2021

Apium Additive Technologies from Karlsruhe will bring its Apium P220 3D printer to Motek. The printer is suitable for industrial processing of technical, composite and high-performance thermoplastics. Where small production quantities are involved, these materials offer an economic advantage and they’re suitable for thermo-mechanical, chemical, biological and electrical applications. In particular, managing director Uwe Popp wants to approach small and mid-sized companies at Motek, who can benefit from these materials.

3D printing has already gained a foothold in a number of production areas. Please give us a few examples that illustrate the advantages of 3D printing.

In particular with regard to setup time, 3D printing has enormous advantages. Individually adapted components can be produced very quickly. Especially in CAM programming, tremendous potential savings are possible. Jigs and fixtures are normally used when preparing for production. These are either unnecessary in 3D printing, or they’re produced along with the components in the form of support structures. Finally, reduced material consumption in component production must also be emphasised, although this necessitates accurate knowledge of the application and the forces to which the component will be subjected. Organic components can then be produced quickly and cost-effectively, which can’t be manufactured conventionally in this way and which offer an economic advantage.

Which industry sectors benefit most from 3D printing technology?

In particular those sectors that manufacture small production runs or special components – including replacement parts, fixtures, retainers and housings as well. Especially great potential can be found in the field of medical technology, because each individual has his or her own unique physical makeup. From a technical standpoint, aviation can benefit from 3D printing with lightweight components and small quantities. But ultimately, profitability depends upon how well the respective companies understand the technologies and can integrate them into their products and processes. Those who remain open-minded in this regard will also be able to discover and make use of the hidden potential that the technology holds for their own companies.

Which technological obstacles will have to be overcome during further development of 3D printing?

In our opinion, the major obstacles don’t involve the technology itself, but rather above all the way in which the technology is used. Conventional, production-oriented component design is generally laid out for subtractive manufacturing such as machining and turning. Beyond this, few standards have yet been established for additive manufacturing. These facts suggest that the technology hasn’t yet progressed as far as it should have. Apart from this, the majority of the potential for advancing the technology comes primarily from the software side.

Which specific target group is your company approaching?

Above all we want to approach small and mid-sized companies at Motek, because we’re specialised in additive processing of high-performance thermoplastics. These materials are durable in thermo-mechanical, chemical, biological and electrical applications and offer an economic advantage for small quantities. Thanks to the versatility of these materials, suppliers and job shops can make good use of them in order to fulfil their customers’ requirements.

Which trade fair highlight will you present at the “3D Special Show” during Motek/Bondexpo 2021 in Stuttgart?

We’ll be showcasing our Apium P220 3D printer for industrial processing of technical, composite and high performance thermoplastics. In particular we’d like to draw attention to our carbon fibre reinforced PEEK material, which can be used for a great variety of industrial applications including machine components, deep-drawing tools, operating equipment, housings, insulators, components for handling vacuum, gas and liquids, as well as moving parts and mechanical bearings.

The Apium P220 is a 3D printer that processes thermoplastics in wire or filament form. Thanks to patented zone heating, the unit is ideally suited for processing technical, composite and high-performance thermoplastics. Moreover it’s an open system, which means that foreign materials can also be loaded and processed. Special emphasis is placed on process reliability. The printing process is monitored by a camera and sensors, and acquired data is summarised in a report at the end of the printing process. This makes it possible to trace individual components and their quality. Finally, the P220 is distinguished by highly reproducible printing results. Closed-loop motors are used as drives, which ensure outstanding repetition accuracy. (photos: Apium Additive Technologies)