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Printing and injection molding: good colleagues

Overath, 17.11.2021 Additive manufacturing processes and rapid tooling are not in competition with each other, but complement each other in many respects – this is one of the messages of Formnext, which took place in a very optimistic mood. Injection molding, for example, makes parts accessible that printing cannot yet deliver. This also convinced numerous technology scouts at the BARLOG Plastics booth.

BARLOG Plastics GmbH, Overath near Cologne, considers the course of this year’s Formnext in Frankfurt am Main, the industry meeting place for additive manufacturing, to be extremely promising. “Not only because this important trade fair was cancelled last year and the industry waited a correspondingly long time for this event,” explains Tobias Haedecke, Head of Engineering & CAE and rapid tooling expert at BARLOG Plastics. “The technology has made a significant leap forward in the past two years. The mood among
the visitors. So we too, both as a service provider in 3D printing and as an injection molding expert and one of the technology leaders in the field of prototyping, were able to hold a large number of very fruitful discussions at our booth.” In particular demand among the technology scouts were sustainable compounds, such as the recycled PET-based KEBALLOY Eco, as well as special materials for further functional integration for the E&E sector and BARLOG technologies, which excellently complement the additive manufacturing offering.

Rapid tooling is an optimal complement to 3D printing

“One of the most remarkable new developments in the field of 3D printing is that printers have become bigger, faster and therefore more powerful in recent years,” Haedecke said. “This means that additive manufacturing continues to be well on its way to becoming a significant mainstay of plastics processing technology. We recognized this early on and have been working with additive processes ourselves for years and also offer our customers these
technologies and the necessary know-how to our customers.” There is still one catch, however, according to Haedecke: despite all the advances, even the latest 3D printers don’t necessarily get along with typical injection molding granulates. For example, with fiber-reinforced types. “This is a typical example of how rapid tooling and 3D printing are not necessarily in competition, but complement each other perfectly.”

Because via rapid tooling and complementary technologies, BARLOG Plastics economically and quickly creates injection molds within a few days that can be used for the qualified production of small batches. This offer is part of a comprehensive overall package that also includes (iterative) simulation from CAD data and even the qualification of sustainable recycled materials, among other things. The resulting molded parts can be analyzed by the Overath plastics
Since they are produced by injection molding, the knowledge gained in this process can also be used to start up and optimize mass production if large-scale production is planned.

Another example of products that are not yet accessible by printing are electronic or electrotechnical components that contain metallic contacts or conductive tracks. “You can’t ‘ reprint ‘ these yet,” explains Tobias Haedecke. “However, such components can be produced without any problems via injection molding.” The necessary tools are of course also accessible via rapid tooling.

Optimum service from the idea to series production

These possibilities are further potentiated by the use of suitable BARLOG Plastics special compounds that can perform special tasks in the field of E&E, such as KEBABLEND TC for effective heat dissipation and KEBABLEND M or KEBABLEND MW , which can be excellently magnetized via ferrite-based or hard ferrite or rare earth magnetic materials (in various carrier polymers for every application, e.g. PA or PPS).

“Ultimately, it depends on what the customer wants and only then on the technology that is used in the end. It is therefore best for the user to work with a partner who is familiar with both additive manufacturing processes and rapid tooling and can optimally weigh up their respective advantages and disadvantages in light of the customer’s requirements,” says Haedecke. Ideally, the partnership already takes effect during the first steps of product development – the earlier BARLOG Plastics is involved, the better results can be expected thanks to agile project management and targeted design for manufacturing.


Frank Barlog, Managing Partner of BARLOG Plastics GmbH
Tobias Haedecke, Head of Engineering & CAE at BARLOG Plastics GmbH Printing and injection molding: good colleagues Press release
BARLOG PLastics booth team at Formnext 2021 in Frankfurt, Germany

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