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Wikipedia defines technical prototypes as a test model of a planned product or component that is functional for the respective purpose, but often also simplified. Whereas prototype construction in industry has so far been strongly characterised by manual skills, the situation is beginning to change permanently with the advent of additive manufacturing. And the development is progressing rapidly, not least thanks to companies specialising in prototype construction such as Teufel Prototypen GmbH from Nersingen-Unterfahlheim. Under the motto "Creating the future", the Bavarian Swabians offer the entire process chain of product development. Flexible teams are available for each individual area of this development process, in which young and old, experience, competence and a wealth of ideas complement each other in a meaningful way, so that the individual requirements of the customers can always be implemented quickly and creatively.

New process relies on droplets

At HANNOVER MESSE 2023, Teufel will be demonstrating that there are other possibilities beyond 3D printing that could revolutionise prototype construction in the medium term. For example, Teufel says it is the world's first - and currently only - service provider to offer the Freeformer AKF process. Based on the Freeformer from ARBURG, Teufel already enables the tool-free production of plastic parts from original materials. The preliminary work is similar to that of 3D printing: the 3D CAD data is first read in and disassembled in order to then recreate the desired part layer by layer. However, the Freeformer, which is designed for industrial additive manufacturing, can do much more than a classic 3D printer by melting commercially available plastic granulates and then producing functional components from the smallest droplets, either individually or in small batches. The Freeformer is not only dust- and emission-free, it is also designed to enable cost-effective individual part production from batch size 1 without the need for injection moulding tools. The Freeformer's installation space offers room for parts up to 154 x 134 x 230 millimetres in size. Since the system is also equipped with two discharge units, the second unit can be used for an additional component, for example to produce parts in hard-soft.

Open system for new possibilities

The AKF process and the Freeformer were specifically designed as an open system. This gives the freedom to individually optimise the process and the properties of the additively manufactured components, as well as to qualify and process your own materials. The following materials can currently be processed in the Freeformer: ABS, PC, TPE, PP.