Maarten Logtenberg, CTO & Co-Founder at CEAD, joins Builder Nation’s Podcast host Sam Ávila to share his experiences as a leader in the 3D Printing industry and the insights he has gained from his broad expertise in engineering and 3D printing.

This interview was brought to you by BuilderNation, the community of Hardware leaders developing world-changing products, and sponsored by ControlHub, the purchasing software for hardware companies.

The Fascinating World of 3D Printing

Recent years have witnessed a transformative shift in manufacturing, propelled by the revolutionary technology of 3D printing. Also known as additive manufacturing, this innovation has reshaped industries, altering product conception, design, and production. This article explores the captivating world of 3D printing and its profound significance, focusing on the pioneering role of CEAD in its evolution.

How 3D Printing Works

The impact of 3D printing is profound, breaking traditional manufacturing barriers by creating intricate objects layer by layer from digital designs. Across healthcare, aerospace, automotive, and consumer goods, 3D printing’s possibilities span diverse sectors. This additive manufacturing process deposits or cures materials successively to craft fully realized objects, each layer contributing to the final product.

Central to 3D printing is the additive manufacturing process, objects are constructed layer by layer, allowing unprecedented complexity and customization. Through technologies like Fused Granular Fabrication (FGF), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), diverse materials shape everything from prototypes to functional end-use parts.

CEAD: Pushing the Boundaries of 3D Printing

In the dynamic realm of 3D printing, CEAD emerges as an industry leader, establishing fresh benchmarks and redefining attainable limits. CEAD’s unwavering dedication to large-scale thermoplastic composite 3D printing solutions distinguishes it. CEAD Group isn’t satisfied with the existing status quo; it consistently challenges norms, striving to deliver technology that is not only groundbreaking but also paradigm-shifting.

CEAD’s influence extends well beyond its machines; it permeates every aspect of its offerings, redefining efficiency and productivity standards. Their robot-based solutions offer unmatched flexibility and modularity, seamlessly integrating diverse production technologies into a cohesive process.

At the core of CEAD’s offerings lies their cutting-edge large-scale robot-based 3D printers, the result of rigorous research and development. These are not just machines; they represent the future of manufacturing. By combining advanced additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques in one robot-based set-up, CEAD empowers industries to create unparalleled size, complexity, and quality components. From the aerospace to the automotive sectors, CEAD’s large-scale 3D printers exemplify the boundless potential of modern manufacturing.

Revolutionizing Additive Manufacturing with CEAD

CEAD offers remarkable array of solutions that redefine the possibilities of large-scale 3D printing. Their forward-thinking approach to technology and pursuit of excellence have led to an impressive array of technology solutions that are catered to every client’s unique needs.

Large-scale robotic-based 3D printer: shaping the future, layer by layer

CEAD’s flagship offering revolves around their scalable and modular Flexbot 3D printer. This machine goes beyond being a mere tool; it efficiently transforms a digital design file into a printed part. By harnessing the potential of advanced additive and manufacturing techniques, this company empowers industries to fabricate intricate, massive, and high-quality components that were once deemed unattainable. It facilitates quick design iterations and is ideal for supporting low-volume production rounds. The flexbot is a hybrid machine, that combines 3D printing with CNC milling. By combining additive and subtractive manufacturing, CEAD amplifies productivity and redefines efficiency, allowing for tailor-made solutions that cater to intricate requirements. The Flexbot plays a crucial role in ushering a new era of manufacturing.

Holistic Solutions: Beyond Machinery

CEAD does not only sell industrial 3D printers, they enter a lifelong partnership with their customers during which they provide an all-encompassing suite of services. Before a Flexbot is purchased, it starts with setting up a business case, ensuring clients derive maximum value from their technology investments. During this phase, they focus on the application and determine which materials and printing strategy would work. This is a structured approach for organizations to evaluate the viability of large-scale 3D printing for their unique applications. CEAD’s expertise supports these projects to mitigate adoption risks and pave the way for seamless integration of 3D printing to transform a production process. When the machine is installed, everything is taken into account: from cell layout, to floor plans and power supplies, a dedicated team of engineers travels to the site of the customer to install the Flexbot. After this, customers receive extensive on-site training, where they learn how to safely operate the robot, how to design for large scale 3D printing and more. CEAD’s customer support engineers are available to support the customers in their 3D printing journey.

Empowering Innovators: Technology Components for Progress

For those aiming to pave their path in large-scale 3D printing, CEAD’s technology components are transformative tools. Their stand-alone extruder system empowers integrators and companies to transform their existing robotic set-up into a large-scale 3D printers. It is a low investment step into large scale 3D printing and the broad variety of high output extruders CEAD offers, allow each clients’ specific needs to be met.

(FAQs) – CEAD Large Scale Additive Manufacturing

What does CEAD specialize in?

CEAD specializes in providing technology and solutions for large-scale thermoplastic composite 3D printing. Its expertise lies in building and implementing large-scale robotic 3D printers that can handle various processes like printing and milling.

What services does CEAD offer?

CEAD offers various services, including:

  • Setting up a business case to assess the technical and commercial feasibility of large-scale 3D printing applications of their clients and providing proof of concept.
  • On-site installation: providing a turn-key solution that includes on-site installation and calibration.
  • Operator training: to ensure safety and maximum utilization of our machines, we provide an extensive training program during which employees are guided through the various steps of the Flexbot workflow.
  • Maintenance & service: to ensure that the Flexbot continues to produce high-quality prints, we perform preventive and scheduled maintenance.

Can you provide examples of successful projects?

They have completed various successful projects, including:

  • Large-Scale 3D Printed Bridge: A collaborative project with Royal HaskoningDHV and DSM to pioneer new approaches in large-scale 3D printing.
  • 3D Printed Molds with Polypropylene: Rapid Prototyping utilized its technology for producing molds in various industries.

What are CEAD’s main large-scale additive manufacturing solutions?

  • CEAD standalone pellet extruder: a standalone extruder system that can be integrated with existing systems for large-scale 3D printing. We currently have a 25, 40 and 50 series that differ in output and weight.
  • CEAD Flexbot: a flexible robot-based solution combining 3D printing and milling processes.
  • BEAD: a hybrid gantry machine for high precision CNC milling and 3D printing in collaboration with Belotti.

What are CEAD’s technology components?

The technology components include our standalone pellet extruder system. The pellet extruders that are accompanied with a base unit to control the entire extruder system. They can be integrated with robots and CNC gantry machines. It also includes our print bed that can be customized for an increased buil volume. These components are suitable for building large-scale 3D printers.

How do you ensure accuracy and reliability?

Amongst others, the Flexbot ensures the accuracy and reliability required for 3D printing and CNC milling processes by utilizing a high-end Siemens CNC controller (Sinumerik) that directly controls the robot, enabling precise movements along a path. By using the familiar g-code, it also eliminates the need for a separate robot controller and the necessity to learn a new programming language for operators. Standard g-code is already a widely practiced programming language and therefore eases the transition from other manufacturing technologies to large scale 3D printing with our Flexbot.

What is the BEAD hybrid solution?

The BEAD hybrid solution is a solution derived from the collaboration between CEAD and Belotti. Belotti is a manufacturer of 5-axis CNC machining centers. We have developed the BEAD hybrid solution to combine subtractive manufacturing’s precision with additive manufacturing’s sustainability. It allows 3D printing a near-net shape and then milling it to the required tolerances using a CNC milling machine.

Do you have service for every country?

The vast majority of our clients are located outside the Netherlands. We travel globally to install our Flexbots and offer on-site training. Our customer service engineers provide excellent support both online and on-site. We remotely monitor our machines and can send updates from our base in the Netherlands. We also collaborate with local partners and integrators to assist our customers.