10 May 2023
The BEAD hybrid Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) and CNC milling machine is the result of a strategic partnership between Belotti SpA and CEAD company, established in 2020 to combine the expertise of additive and subtractive manufacturing on thermoplastic materials into one solution.
BEAD machine exploits the best of both worlds, combining the speed and creative potential of 3D printing with the precision and reliability of a CNC center in a single system.
Through an easy, complete integration of a CEAD extruder for LSAM (of variable dimensions and output) in a Belotti 5-axis CNC machining center, BEAD allows the production of parts that are sufficiently oversized to be finished to the required tolerances with times and raw materials consumption lower than traditional methods.
Some units have been already supplied to and installed at European customers as new machines or as retrofits on existing Belotti CNC centers, while new applications and pilot projects are constantly tested at Belotti HQs’ showroom in Italy, where the BEAD machine is in operation.
THE NEW “BEAD” CONFIGURATION WITH CEAD S25 LIGHTWEIGHT EXTRUDER
BEAD machine can be possible in different configurations, with variable build volumes, extrusion outputs and printing orientations. The lastest configuration was launched and showcased at JEC World 2023 with everyday LIVE DEMOS to present the great potentialities offered by this technology.
The new BEAD machine is a Belotti FLU 2617 CNC machining center equipped with S25 extruder, the newest addition to the CEAD portfolio. S25 extruder has the same screw diameter as the E25 model, but it is bigger, heavier and stronger than its younger sibling. Its output is 25 kg/hour, offering more material output for higher production demands or larger parts.
The machine displayed at JEC World 2023 exhibition was provided with the kind permission of DUROtherm Group, the German company specialized in the development and production of vacuum formed parts as well as PU- and RRIM-foam plastic parts, who has recently purchased the new BEAD configuration.
- Superior output: the S25 extruder has the same layer size but allows printing along wider paths (=larger pieces) and at the same time with more performing materials (which usually limit the possible paths when using the E25 model);
- Compact dimensions: possibility of printing with different angles during the printing program using the 5-axis of the machine (not possible, for example, with larger extruders).
The new BEAD configuration: Belotti FLU 2617 cnc center + CEAD S25 new extruder
MILLING OPERATIONS WITH BELOTTI FLU 2617 CNC MACHINING CENTER
Belotti FLU Series is the ideal 5-axis high-speed milling machine for resin patterns, aluminium moulds, and for composite materials’ trimming. This Series has a sturdy, monolithic or double shoulder structure, specially designed to dampen vibrations as well as to assure maximum rigidity and total stability when highvolume operations are requested.
The high-speed processing provides a significant reduction in cycle times, while the single-shoulder machining units enhance the milling accuracy with top-quality finishes.
CNC milling operations on an aerospace mould printed with BEAD technology using ”DAHLTRAM® C-250 CF” by Airtech (policarbonate 20% carbon fiber for autoclave cycles up to 130°C). Machining tools by Sandvik Coromant.
CEAD EXTRUDERS ON BELOTTI CNC CENTERS
All CEAD robot extruders are ideal to turn Belotti CNC systems in large scale 3D printers. The extruders may have different sizes and printing orientations. One of the key feature is the 45 degree orientation, that enables to print also fully closed shapes without supports for undercuts, reducing printing time and improving interlayer adhesion, and to mediate mechanical and thermal properties of the material at needs.
Multiple nozzle sizes and designs are possible to vary the print layer dimension. The extrusion temperature goes up to 400 °C in order to process a wide variety of materials.
BEAD can print almost all fiber-reinforced thermoplastic materials exploiting the five axes of the machining center and printing at different angles, in order to optimise mechanical and thermal properties of produced parts.
The BEAD operates with composite pellets made of a thermoplastic polymer matrix and different types of fibers as reinforcement, from glass to carbon and natural fibers.
Polymers range from commodity (e.g. PP, PETG) to high performance materials (e.g. PESU, PEEK). Differently from thermosettings, thermoplastics could be recyclable and re-used, making the process even more sustainable and less environmentally impacting.
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