First Dutch Renishaw printer for Fontys
Fontys University of Applied Sciences Engineering (partly based in Twice's Catalyst hub on the TU/e Campus) has recently become the first in the Netherlands to have a Renishaw metal printer. The machine is housed on the Eindhoven university grounds, where mechanical engineering, among other things, has moved into the former home of TNO Industrie en Techniek. Fontys, the first in Dutch higher and scientific education, has also become a member of the Flam3D branch organisation. The institution has also purchased a 3D scanner from GOM to digitise objects and determine the accuracy of its metal prints.
Printing expert Rein van der Mast, former Design & Engineering Manager at Additive Industries and inventor of the metal-printed fountain pen tip, has been working part-time at Fontys for a number of years and now leads the research into 3D printing in metals. Van der Mast: "Fontys started years ago with a machine from the German Concept Laser, an M3. When those signs of age began to show, a small, significantly more modern metal printer from the also German Trumpf was brought into the house, a TruPrint1000. That was a fine machine, but with a construction volume of 100 mm diameter at little more than 100 mm, printing somewhat larger objects and larger numbers was less appropriate, while our need for it had increased. That's when we started talking to Renishaw". Five years ago, when Fontys emphatically picked up 3D printing, the institute gave it a name: Objexlab. With the addition of Metal, research is now being done in the field of metal printing.
The current restrictions due to covid-19 threw a spanner in the works. Because Fontys has moved most of its education to the Internet and keeps its own premises closed for the time being, including Nexus, the building in which Mechanical Engineering is located, the printer has been moved to Catalyst, a business centre elsewhere at the TU/e site.
Net asset value
Fontys wants to focus more than in the past on 3D printing, including metal printing. In doing so, Fontys wants to continue to serve the industry in and around Eindhoven, which has many high-tech companies. Van der Mast: "The exploration of the intrinsic value of metal printing is paramount. Can metal printing be used to produce more efficiently, to improve its products and to create new business activity? We only carry out pre-competitive research that is always based on a research issue. After all, there are already plenty of parties offering printing capacity on their metal printers, such as in this region K3D-AddFab". Fontys has also made metal printing part of one of the 'minors', with this year about thirty students following different studies and gaining practical experience in groups in calculating, designing, preparing, printing and finishing metal workpieces.
To increase the connection with the business community, Fontys has become a member of branch organisation Flam3D. Kris Binon, director Flam3D: "We create real added value by connecting the network. And that has a positive impact on the competitiveness of the region where we are active, the Netherlands and Flanders.
Never before has Renishaw installed a metal printer in the Netherlands. The English company has made a name for itself here mainly as a manufacturer of measuring instruments. There is now an AM400 at Fontys. Philippe Reinders Folmer, Managing Director of Renishaw Benelux, said: "We are delighted to be able to introduce the Dutch industry to metal printing in combination with our machines through Fontys. Renishaw has had a strong commitment to metal printing for many years and major steps have been taken in recent years".
Van der Mast: "To get a better grip on the quality of what we print, we recently purchased a 3D scanner from GOM, the ATOS Core. The GOM 3D scanner will be used by students from Eindhoven, on the one hand, to gain more insight into the quality of their prints. And on the other hand by the companies and students that participate in Castlab. They will not only scan pieces for making measurements, but also for obtaining digital twins, for which we have purchased 3D Systems Geomagic because of reverse engineering".
Moving to the BIC after the summer
After the summer holidays, Fontys metal printing will be housed on the Brainport Industries Campus. They would like to work together with Summa College, to train operators, work preparers and afterworkers. Of course they would also like to collaborate with Additive Industries, K3D-AddFab, Additive Center and other initiatives in the region that manifest themselves in the field of 3D printing. Collaboration with industry is crucial, so here is the invitation to industry to participate".