Cincinnati Incorporated to Showcase 6'x12'x3' 3D Printer at FABTECH

Cincinnati Incorporated (CI) is ready to make noise at Fabtech promoting the company’s latest technologies, including the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine that had manufacturers buzzing at IMTS last year when it printed a full-size car at the show. The BAAM machine, with a 6 x 12 x 3 ft work envelope, will be on display in booth N-9000 in the Grand Concourse Lobby of the North Hall of Chicago’s McCormick Place.

The large-scale additive machine uses the chassis, drives and control of CI’s laser cutting system as the base, and extrudes hot thermoplastic to build parts, layer-by-layer. The machine, developed as part of a cooperative research and development agreement between CI and Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL), introduces significant new manufacturing capabilities to a wide range of industries including automotive, aerospace, marine, furniture and much more.

CI is a technology leader in manufacturing press brakes, shears and laser cutting systems for metal fabricating, as well as big area additive manufacturing. In addition, CI powdered metal compacting presses are the most advanced additive process used for high volume production metal parts. PM presses cost-effectively make high volume production parts that make cars lighter and more efficient.

“We developed and pioneered the use of high-speed linear-motor axis drives on laser cutting systems and now the same technology is taking us into the next generation of machine tools,” said Carey Chen, President and CEO of CI. “BAAM is driving a spirit of renewal at CI, as there has been a tremendous response to the machine and the impact it has on manufacturing processes. This sense of rejuvenation also led to a new branding initiative and website, so this is having a positive impact on our entire company.”

The proprietary linear motor drives are capable of reaching accelerations in excess of 2.0G and head positioning speeds of up to 12,000 in./min., to deliver positioning accuracy of ±0.001 in. per axis. Chen added, “This machine platform has been field tested and proven to be virtually trouble free, and the linear motor drive allows fast and precise positioning, required for proper 3D printing.”

A larger version BAAM machine, currently at ORNL, has a work envelope of 8 x 20 x 6 ft. and extrusion rate of about 40 lbs/hr, the machine prints polymer components up to 10 times larger than currently producible, at speeds 200 to 500 times faster than existing additive machines. SABIC Innovative Plastics purchased the first BAAM machine and provided the carbon fiber ABS plastic for the IMTS car and will be providing material for BAAM at the Fabtech show.

The BAAM extruder uses a wide variety of thermoplastics and fiber reinforced thermoplastics and the two companies plan to test a number of materials that will meet the needs of a variety of commercial applications. “We’ve already tested ABS, PPS, PEKK and Ultem, and found that carbon fiber and glass fiber reinforcing improve both the strength and thermal stability of the parts,” added Chen.

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