Ansbach, Germany-based molder Oechsler AG diversified into additive manufacturing in 2018, reducing its dependence on automotive molding.
In June 2020, it boosted that work when it announced cooperation with Hewlett Packard and Heidelberg, Germany-based BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH on using powder bed fusion (PBF) with HP's JF5200 Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) printers. This involves a fully recyclable HP 3D High Reusability polypropylene powder developed for HP by BASF and 80 percent recyclable BASF Forward AM-brand Ultrasint TPU01 thermoplastic polyurethane powder.
It set up an additive manufacturing site, Oechsler Motion, in Ansbach-Brodswinden, Germany. The location was originally a SpeedFactory site set up and run by Oechsler in partnership with athletic shoe producer Adidas and Oechsler Taicang, China.
Aside from HP MJF printers, Oechsler prints with Carbon 3D L1 DLS Digital Light Synthesis machines and uses EOS M920 metal laser sintering machinery, printing in excess of 1 million parts per year since 2019 on more than 150 printers.
As a "cautious diversification strategy," opening up new customer segments beyond automotive, Oechsler CEO Claudius Kozlik called additive manufacturing one of the fastest-growing future production technologies. Oechsler claims to already hold "a global leading position in this market." Transformation to a market-driven developer and manufacturer of complex technological assemblies offers further considerable medium-term strategic potential, he said.
Oechsler uses 3D printing for compressive lattice structures such as protective sports equipment damping or cushy recovery sport shoes.
An Oechsler Fakuma 2021 highlight is an automotive seat with central lattice cushioning, supplemented by lattice headrest and armrest inserts. Without revealing specific details, Oechsler points to lattice structures in the Porsche "3D printed bodyform full-bucket seat," a concept from March 2020 already introduced in some 2020 and 2021 Porsche cars, with a partially exposed lattice structure design feature.
Designed with Sachsen bei Ansbach design consultancy Steinbauer Design, a TPU lattice structure seat eliminates fabrics, springs and foam. Each seat uses combinations of different lattice sizes, thickness and forms for various degrees of cushioning.
While lattices can be combined with rigid 3D printed parts, they can be printed as single integrated lattice/rigid parts for chairs and other applications.
Oechsler and BASF developed "Roboskin," a sensor-free, lightweight, soft-skin lattice mechanical crash absorption buffer, using a Kuka iiwa collaborative robot end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), printed in BASF Ultrasint TPU01 on an HP 5200 MJF printer.