3D printing in the House of Krones
Just how cool would it be if you could easily print an urgently needed spare part in your company fast on demand, thus avoiding line downtime until the part concerned arrives? This is not wishful thinking but actually possible, thanks to the new 3D technology from Krones. I was wondering what exactly is behind this and asked an expert who is able to give us the most important answers here. Johannes works in the “GCP Customer 3D Solutions Projects” Department, and there he’s the project manager for the issues of 3D part identification, 3D part design and quality processes. Moreover, he provides support for the sales people when any technical questions concerning 3D printing crop up. So he is just the man for answering our questions.
Johannes, to start with can you tell us something about the printer?
We’re working with the Ultimaker S5, which we buy from a business associate. The printer is compactly dimensioned and therefore highly versatile. Moreover, it’s easy to operate, and its simple construction, plus plug & play start-up, are further persuasively attractive pluses. The underlying technology is that the parts in question are produced from what is called filament. In this process, the filament is melted, and the part is made by successively applying layer after layer. This means we’re able to offer our clients an all-inclusive package, comprising printer, instructions and numerous other services, thus making sure that customers with experience in 3D printing and newcomers alike can all make optimum use of the solution.
Could you please give us some more details about these services offered in connection with 3D printing?
Anyone utilising 3D printing for their company will get a complete package from us. This starts with consultancy and a jointly conducted analysis of the spares that are relevant for the client concerned. Here, we examine which of the parts installed can be produced in a 3D printing process – referred to as “rapid parts on demand” – thus enabling us to provide the appropriate files for those parts. As I said before, we can furthermore supply a printer, and together with KIC Krones also the material required for printing, with the actual printing of the 3D articles handled directly via the Krones.shop. Here, all 3D parts identified as suitable for printing are already on file. But the client can also send inquiries for additional new spare parts, which are to be made available in future as 3D material. The customer will then find a complete overview of the printing orders and their status in the “Digital warehouse” shop section. So really everything clients need for 3D printing is supplied by the House of Krones, which means we can give them perfectly tailored advice and support.
And for which parts is the 3D printer used?
Two types of spares can be produced with our printer: firstly what are called emergency parts, so that there is no line standstill while waiting for the conventional spare part to be delivered. But secondly “proper” parts as well that can be used in the line on a permanent basis. Of course, we have numerous subsidiaries all around the globe, which means the delivery time will never be that long, but as everyone knows time is money, and therefore it’s worth quite a lot when the line can be kept running with an in-house-printed spare until the conventional part is supplied.
Are there companies that are already working with the printer?
Yes, in actual fact we have a large associate in West Africa, who is using our printer and constitutes our proof of concept. Needless to say that we want to make this service available to all of Krones’ clients, and we’re already firming up the details for translating it into hands-on reality.
Is it possible for further clients to get involved in the proof of concept?
Yes, we’re still looking for more customers, so as to put the proof of concept on broader foundations. Anyone interested can get in touch with us at the following email address: email@example.com.
Thank you very much, Johannes, for your answers. This all sounds like a wonderful technological innovation. To all of you out there: we can hardly wait to tell you more about this very soon! So anticipation is the watchword – stay tuned, so you don’t miss our next news on the 3D printer.