B&R Metrology add 3D printers to portfolio

With more than 23 years’ experience in CNC manufacturing, B&R Metrology Solutions does not need to be introduced to the field of validation, verification of predefined standards, traceability, accuracy, reliability and precision, which are all elements of metrology and defined as the scientific study of measurement that establishes a common understanding of units that are crucial in linking human activities.

B&R Metrology Solutions have provided a means of accountability and certainty in the production and manufacturing industry, specialising in coordinate measuring machines, portable inspection, portable scanning, reverse engineering and inspection. Representing premium brands such as Renishaw, Nikon, LK Metrology, Polyworks, Inspecvision, Starrett, Mahr and Metronoor B&R Metrology Solutions is able to supply product virtually across the entire spectrum.

Now the company has announced that it is to further enhance its complementary product portfolio with the signing of an agency agreement with the Polish manufacturer of industrial 3D printers VSHAPER, a subsidiary within the Verashape Group.

B&R Metrology has announced that it is to further enhance its complementary product portfolio with the signing of an agency agreement with the Polish manufacturer of industrial 3D printers VSHAPER, a subsidiary within the Verashape Group

“Additive manufacturing has been supporting manufacturing companies in technological development for many years. The forecasts for the growth of additive manufacturing are up-and-coming. The latest research shows that over 50 per cent of the applications of this technology are production applications. 3D printing is no longer just prototyping technology! The areas which use this technology are continually expanding and more and more companies are deciding to expand their machine park with an industrial 3D printer,” explained Bryn Labuschagne, Sales Director of B&R Metrology.

“Most manufacturers who have decided to implement 3D printing technology report a growing interest in additive manufacturing for various applications and plan to invest more in this technology in the coming years. It is because 3D printing is helping companies to develop and significantly improve the entire production process,” continued Labuschagne.

“The latest research shows that the current use of 3D printing technology for commercial purposes has significantly increased and accounts for over 60 per cent of applications, in addition to hobby and science. Complex geometries, such as lattice structures, are a great advantage of 3D printing. It is therefore not surprising that this technology is used in the context of prototyping, as support for CAD design, in construction and testing innovative solutions or material testing. More importantly, next to these applications, 3D printing is becoming a popular method of short series production, often used next to laser cutting and CNC machining.”

5-axis printer
“Last year VSHAPER launched a 5-axis printer called the VSHAPER 5AX. The development of a 5-axis 3D printer is logical as the parent company builds multi-axis CNC machines. The application of 5-axis technology to fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printing helps the VSHAPER 5AX stand apart from other desktop 3D printers on the market, which largely rely on Cartesian robotic technology.”

Why 5-axis?
Additive manufacturing with 5-axis versus the conventional Cartesian robotics of most desktop 3D printers is an attempt to move past some limitations that engineers encountered when using Cartesian 3D printers to create objects from thermoplastic filaments. Part of the problem that VSHAPER hopes to address with Cartesian desktop FFF 3D printers is one of having even material strength post-filament deposition. Engineers looking to prototype objects or create one-off ready-made components need the integrity of material properties like strength to be predictable, quantifiable and measurable.”

The range of industrial 3D printers manufactured by VSHAPER

“The problem with Cartesian desktop 3D printers according to VSHAPER is this. Depending on how a 3D model is placed on the build platform prior to the slicing and printing process, the material strength can be distributed unevenly or in a way that differs from one’s intentions. In addition, the layer-by-layer technique is wasteful, requiring a good deal of material for use as support structures.”

“The 5AX machine employs 5-axis kinematics equipped with a tilting rotary working platform. Indexed 5-axis printing enhances layer-by-layer printing by transferring the print plane to another surface that was printed previously. Simultaneous 5-axis printing allows creation of spatial models on a 3D surface by using all the machine axes simultaneously.”

“Working with multiple materials in one process, this system allows production of models from hard material, reinforced with high-strength material and printed elastomeric seals.”

“The build platform of the VSHAPER 5AX spins and tilts, which gives users the ability to alter the placement of the 3D model to align the platform with its optimal flat planes, rather than having to compromise positioning relative to the static build platform of a desktop 3D printer. Instead, the planes of the 3D model are automatically adjusted based on the position of the print head via VSHAPER 5AX’s rotating platform. This has the effect of freeing up the angle-of-attack of the filament deposition, reinforcing axes of the printed object’s geometry.”

VSHAPER has also been working on the development of new solutions for the industry: A support material for PEEK and other 3D printing materials and software

“VSHAPER claims that its machine eliminates the need for support structures, which will dramatically reduce thermoplastic filament material waste. The VSHAPER 5AX has a few other tricks up its sleeve, including multiple tool head attachments (six in total), the ability to print in multiple materials, and the ability to switch to finishing tools for burnishing, milling and drilling. There is even a quality assurance tool in the probing tool head that outputs data about the geometry of parts being printed so they can be measured against the actual specs of the digital 3D model design.”

VSHAPER 3AX machines
“Although we have talked mainly about the new 5-axis machine the company was established on the 3-axis format and they now have six machines in this range with work spaces from 220mm x 260mm x 185mm up to 420mm x 420mm x 450mm. The VSHAPER 5AX is going to be a big seller going forward but it is their workhorses that are putting them on the map.”

Software and filaments
“VSHAPER has also been working on the development of new solutions for the industry: A support material for PEEK and other 3D printing materials and software.”

“VSHAPER have also developed a range of their own dedicated filaments. The choice of material used in the process of 3D printing has a significant impact on the quality, durability and visual effect of the final printout.”

“And of course the cost plays a big role. We are importing material that is one third of the price that is currently available.”

Softshaper is a professional software targeted at industrial machines producing in 3D printing technology, also compatible with low-budget 3D printers, has just presented the latest instalment of key functions. The latest edition of the software is Softshaper 2021 equipped with a number of functions that are worth getting to know if you are considering changing the current software.

Last year VSHAPER launched a 5-axis printer called the VSHAPER 5AX

“In the engineering market you can encounter many programmes dedicated especially for 3D printing. They are usually complicated in use for average users, because they require a lot of technological knowledge. Not so with SOFTSHAPER. SOFTSHAPER supports creating the most innovative and complex 3D models that are characterised by diversified, spatial internal structure, which significantly affects the final print properties. In this way, it gives the possibility of designing details with programmed strength, which is particularly important in many industries for professional use.”

“Additive manufacturing plays a significant role in a company’s business strategy, and in most cases gives a substantial competitive advantage. Advanced Western economies have significantly increased investment in additive manufacturing technologies. The primary recipient is industry and 3D printing has the potential to develop industrial processing, which is why we chose VSHAPER, a partner whose machines meet the highest requirements set by manufacturers.”

“Additionally the machines are affordable and have the most advanced capabilities. Whoever thought you would have 5-axis printing?” concluded Labuschagne.

For further details contact B&R Metrology Solutions on TEL: 082 852 6371 or 072 392 4934 or visit www.brmetrology.co.za