End caps sporting the Blumenbecker logo, unique name plates, handling objects for robotics training courses, protective covers to aid with repairs to welding robots: 3D printing is being put to use in an ever-increasing number of ways at Blumenbecker Slovakia.
A subsidiary of Blumenbecker Engineering Holding, the company has been using 3D printing since spring last year. “At the beginning, my aim was to inspire my design engineers by putting a tool in their hands that would allow them to try out their ideas in as realistic a way as possible and take them a step further,” says Managing Director Peter Grňo, “but it very quickly became apparent that there are many other ways it can be used.”
At training courses in Bratislava for programmers and maintenance staff, participants use 40 x 40 mm cubes as handling objects. While up until recently these cubes were made the classic way using metal and aluminium and employing a CNC milling machine, employees are now using the 3D printing method. “Plastic is the ideal material for this purpose, because it’s fine if the cubes are light and they don’t need to be particularly strong,” explains Patrik Jurica, a programmer and trainer at the centre in Bratislava.
“3D printing is a good choice for runs of small quantities, small dimensions and precision of up to 1/10 mm, which is the case for end caps for aluminium profiles, for example,” adds Grňo. Not only can the team give particularly visible parts of machines individual caps sporting the Blumenbecker logo, but the printer also spits out name plates bearing the logo of Blumenbecker and that of the customer. Grňo says this individualisation with the corporate design enhances the already high quality of Blumenbecker’s products by making the fact that every detail has been carefully thought through evident in visual features too.
One of the services Blumenbecker Slovakia offers is repairing robotic applications. When repairs are complete, the repaired metal parts are sand blasted and recoated. A lot of preparatory work is required before this step, wrapping the metal parts in sticky tape to protect them, but soon the team won’t have to do that anymore. In future, protective covers produced by a 3D printer will do the job. Easy to apply and remove, they are also re-useable. “This will improve our service process significantly,” says Grňo.