Knaus Tabbert AG is a leading manufacturer of recreational vehicles. The company’s innovative designs and powerful drive systems for motor homes, caravans, and panel trucks allow for safe, comfortable, and sustainable travel.
At its German headquarters in Jandelsbrunn, Bavaria, Knaus Tabbert utilizes its comprehensive experience and know-how to continuously improve the materials and designs of its vehicles as well as new manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing.
From prototyping to production, Knaus Tabbert needed de-powdering and cleaning operations for additively manufactured work pieces.
“On the one hand, we are using 3D printing technology for creating prototypes. On the other hand, we are also utilizing additive manufacturing for producing standard components in volume such as the bracket for an alarm system or the hinge mechanism for the swing-out shower stall,” said Mario Meszaros, Knaus Tabbert Development Engineer.
De-powdering and cleaning of PA 12 polymer components produced by a powder-bed printing system were being done manually in a blast cabinet, producing highly erratic and inconsistent results as well as a lot of time and labor. The company wanted a more cost-effective and consistent automated alternative.
Polymer parts used by Knaus Tabbert
Comprehensive processing trials with different Knaus Tabbert components took place in the AM Solutions' Customer Experience Center. This division of The Rosler Group specializes in post-processing solutions for 3D printed components. After the conclusion of the highly successful processing trials, the customer chose the S1 shot blasting system.
Perfect Cleaning & Quick Amortization
The S1’s fully automatic operation delivers efficient finishing with absolute cleanliness. This shot blast machine was specifically developed for the post processing of plastic components produced with the powder-bed printing method.
Featuring a plug-and-play design, the S1 is the only machine on the market to allow time-saving and cost-efficient de-powdering as well as surface smoothing and homogenization of 3D printed components in one single machine. All that is required is a simple change of the blast media, for example, from glass beads to plastic spheres.
Equipped with a basket that rotates during the finishing operation and allows easy, ergonomic loading and unloading of the work pieces, the S1 offers fully automatic batch processing. Throughout the entire process—from loading and treatment to unloading—the basket remains in the machine housing. This, combined with a special door sealing system and antistatic system, prevents any powder spillage into the immediate surroundings.
The control panel allows an easy and quick switch to manual operation without any retooling.
“The fact that after surprisingly short cycle times the components came out of the machine perfectly clean and without any powder residues was very impressive,” Meszaros said.
“With the underlying operating data, I prepared a ROI calculation. The results quickly convinced our management that, even with only three print jobs per week in the S1, we will achieve a return on our investment after roughly two years.”
Since it is safe to assume that the quantity of 3D printed components will increase significantly, Meszaros said he expects that the amortization period will be drastically reduced as the S1 is used more extensively.
Process Stability & Operational Safety
In addition to excellent processing results and rapid amortization, the S1’s standard version also features a system that automatically monitors and records all relevant process parameters. The integrated blast media cleaning and recycling system drives high process stability by ensuring that media is always available in perfect condition no matter what type is utilized.
The explosion-protected design of the shot blast machine with ATEX-compliant motors and valves provides additional peace of mind and safety.
“I am absolutely convinced that the simple, effective, and efficient post-processing possibilities of the S1 will further promote the use of additive manufacturing in our company,” Meszaros said.
David Soldan, Head of AM Solutions, agreed, adding that Rosler and AM Solutions provide finishing solutions to a variety of industries.
“More and more companies from different industries are choosing the S1 for post processing their 3D printed components,” Soldan said. “This confirmation of our product strategy shows that our 3D post-processing products are in full compliance with the requirements of the market.”
The Rosler Way
“Finding a better way…” is more than a motto at Rosler; it’s our mission and why AM Solutions exists. With more than 80 years of experience and a portfolio containing more than 15,000 equipment and consumable products, solving challenges is what we do. Contact us today to discuss your additive manufacturing post-processing challenges!