German manufacturing is famous for its efficiency so it's no shock that a new way of 3D printing has been developed there. Arburg has come up with its Freeformer 3D printer aimed at industrial-grade manufacturing.
Arburg has pioneered the new method, dubbed Plastic Freeforming or AKF, which works using 3D CAD data files. A stationary nozzle, using piezo technology, sprays liquid plastic layers on to a moving platform until the shape is formed.
Unlike other 3D printers the Freeformer is able to use soft and hard materials to form geometrically complicated shapes. It also has the ability to produce small batches of fully functional components from standard granulates.
And it's all done without the need for a mould or any support structure. That means printing of all sorts of objects can be done without the need to spend money on making new moulds - bringing down the price of manufacturing.
From a consumer perspective this should mean cheaper products and faster innovations in hardware development. It should also help set a precedent that will drive home 3D printing forward even faster.
The Arburg Freeformer is currently on display at K Trade Fair in Düsseldorf until 23 October.