ERIE, PA. — Arburg GmbH & Co. KG is selling limited numbers of its new additive manufacturing machine, the Freeformer in Germany and — after NPE 2015 — will sell the them in the United States, a company official said at the Innovation and Emerging Plastics Technologies Conference at Penn State Erie.
The Freeformer will be priced about the same as a small injection molding machine, said John Ward, vice president of sales and marketing at Arburg Inc., the Germany company's U.S. headquarters in Rocky Hill, Conn.
“We're looking here not to replace injection molding, but someplace in between,” Ward said in a presentation at the Erie conference, held June 18-19.
The conference, which included technical presentations and hands-on tutorials in the university's plastics laboratory, drew 150 people to Penn State Erie.
Ward said right now, Arburg is testing the Freeformer at German universities, and selling a small number of machines, before fully commercializing it. Introduced at the K 2013 show in Germany, the Freeformer makes parts from drops of liquid plastic, at super-high speeds. Ward joked that it's like a “woodpecker on crack.”
The discharge unit remains fixed, while the part being printed moves on a five-axis table. Ward said Arburg, of Lossburg, Germany, holds 12 patents on the Freeformer.
NPE 2015 will be March 23-27 in Orlando, Fla.