LET US GIVE YOU A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO OUR PROJECT

Project & Vision


With the rapidly growing market for additive manufacturing (AM) and the increasing importance of fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) across various industries, our project incorporates two current research and development areas. It is our goal to revolutionize the additive manufacturing of these fiber-reinforced plastics.

FRP's are essential for numerous applications in the automotive, leisure and sports industries, space and aviation as well as the energy sector. They are characterized by high stiffness and low weight. This makes it possible to achieve high-performance lightweight construction. As part of our focus project, we are working on a new process for the additive production of fiber-reinforced plastics. In our process the fibers are placed directly in the load direction and can thus be more efficiently stressed. As a result, complex lightweight structures can be realized. Furthermore, our method offers a flexible, economical and automated alternative to the previously very complex processing of FRP.




The aim of Carbon Factory is to enable the symbiosis of an established PEEK printer with a FRP printer - with cutting edge innovative CLF technology. In a semi-automated production line, already manufactured PEEK parts are to be locally reinforced with carbon fibers. This requires a sophisticated CAM-based trajectory planning. By means of a laser system, we ensure optimum connection properties between the FVK rod and the PEEK component to be printed. This process enables lightweight structures with extremely high specific material characteristics, whereby the component to be produced satisfies the highest quality requirements.

Groundwork


Carbon Factory is based on the successful predecessor project 3DCarb. This used the innovative CLF (continuous lattice fabrication) process developed by our supervisor, Martin Eichenhofer, to print free-form structures made of fiber-reinforced plastic.

Carbon Factory aims to enable automated overprintig of high-performance thermoplastic "PEEK". This results in unprecedented strengths in 3D printing, which allows the technology to manage the breakthrough from prototyping to the production of functional parts.

Project Framework


In the 5th and 6th semester, the Bachelor students of mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich are given the choice between a focus project and a specialization into a chosen engineering area. Both options allow students to deepen their skills and knowledge in a specific area. The focus project lasts almost a whole year and has the goal to develop and realize an innovative product. All aspects of product development, from conception to design and construction, as well as project management and marketing, are covered. The focus here is on self-initiative, creativity and teamwork. The knowledge required for this is mainly developed in self-study, but also in lectures and dialogue with professors and tutors. The focus project climaxes in the roll-out on May 29, 2018, at which every focus project is presented to the public, with more than 1000 visitors from industry and science expected.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO OUR TEAM

Our Team



Our Team consists of eight mechanical engineering BSc students from ETH Zurich. We are supported by one MSc student (Filippo Kusch), two PhD students (Martin Eichenhofer & Christoph Karl) and the Laboratory of Composite Materials and Adaptive Structures of Prof. Dr. Paolo Ermanni.

Andreas Eckmann


Production, Logistics & Engineering

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Lukas Fischer


Website, Design & Engineering

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Georg Frei


Project Management, Sponsoring & Engineering

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Felix Fricke


Software, Social Media & Engineering

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Lukas Greiner


Finances, Sponsoring, Testing & Engineering

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Alex Luijten


Software & Engineering

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Stephan Steiner


Production, Software & Engineering

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Paul Szyszkowitz


Project Management & Systems Engineering

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GET UP TO DATE WITH OUR MONTHLY NEWS

News



Zurich, October 2017

The birth of Carbon Factory

With the start of this fall semester, the new focus project of the CMAS Lab, here at ETH, in the field of additive manufacturing is also starting to gain momentum. During the next two semesters, our team of eight members, will intensively work on the processing of fiber-reinforced plastics. Our goal is the automated production of carbon fiber-reinforced polyether ether ketone (PEEK) parts.

Conventional 3D-printed parts are to be reinforced with carbon rods, with which we wish to extend their application area. Due to their lack of strength properties, additive manufactured parts consisting of pure plastic can currently only take on the role of prototypes. With our product, we intend to change this and pave the way for industrial application of additive manufacturing. The high stiffness of the carbon fibres we introduce into the 3D printed parts and the wide variety of possibilities of additive production enable ultra-lightweight structures which can bear heavy loads. The produced parts can therefore be used in the aerospace industry, where every gram counts and precision is of utmost importance.

The areas of responsibility have been asigned to team members who have now started working on their tasks. Stay updated concerning the project status and our experiences by following our social media accounts and our homepage.

Zurich, November 2017

The first technical drawings have left our lab!

The technical drawings of our first iteration have left our lab and have been sent to our manufacturers! We have successfully accomplished our first milestone.

At this point we would like to thank our manufacturing partners REWaG AG, Argotec AG and Pavese AG as well as our cartridge heater supplier Moesch AG for their great financial and consultative support. A big thank you also goes to Luxion KeyShot for their rendering & animation software.

The new pultrusion unit stands out due to its adaptable nozzle. We can now adjust the temperature gradient inside the nozzle to a much higher accuracy. This flexibility makes it possible for us to produce qualitative Carbon fiber reinforced PEEK rods at different conveying speeds.

We are now looking forward to further improving our system in the next iteration and putting it into operation soon.

Zurich, December 2017

Let's get started with testing!

Our production components arrived in our lab und we can start our first high-fidelity tests. Our first iteration is now over.

At this point we would like to thank our manufacturing partners Pavese AG and REWaG AG for their great financial and consultative support.

The new extrusion unit features a new suspension system: The contact pressure can now be steadily readjusted by a force sensor. Further we have completely altered our nozzle which now differs itself considerably from conventional extrusion nozzles. Henceforth, our filaments are heated just a few degrees under their melting point in a preheating and afterwards melted by heating weels in the bottom part of our extrusion system while being welded onto the PEEK component.

Zurich, March 2018

Systemintegration

For the first time we have put together all different components of our robotic CF-PEEK 3D printing solution (the extrusion, pultrusion and our brand new laser system). Fine tuning and extensive tests are under way!

The new extrusion module has once again been modified and now contains a water cooling to ensure the ideal temperature gradient inside the CF-PEEK rod.

At this point we would like to thank our manufacturing partner Heinz Baumgartner AG who has produced most parts of our second iteration. Thank you for the excellent quality!

The pultrusion finally works as we have planned after our first test. The heating jacket and water cooling are doing their job. At last we can consolidate perfect CF-PEEK rods without intervention and have already reached our project goals in this particular module!

A big thank you also goes to our several other sponsors who have supported us financially and with components. Without you we couldn’t have used such complex high-quality parts.

Zurich, March 2018

UVEX Laservision laser safety box

Our project is progressing rapidly. Our laser has just arrived. It provides the necessary temperature to connect our extruded carbon rod to the substrate. We can now begin to integrate the laser into our system.

Without a laser protection box and appropriate safety measures we would not have been able to put a laser in action. Many thanks at this point to the generous commitment and professional advice of UVEX Laservision. UVEX Laservision is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of laser protection products and is the first choice for many people when it comes to their safety.

If you also want to work with a laser, don’t hesitate to contact their supportive customer service or have a look at their website.

Zurich, May 2018

Finalizing

Our project is now nearing the finish line. After installing our laser and the laser protection box, we are now giving the finishing touches to our turntable and the robot. This will extend the robots freedom by another degree and therefore permit us to show you very interesting geometries and demonstrators at our Rollout on the 29th of May at ETH Zürich.

All of the work in this area could not have been possible without Kaufmann Turmkrane AG. They not only helped us weld together the podium for our robot and the base of our turntable. Kaufmann Turmkrane AG also provided us with the financial means to purchase additional materials need to reach our goals. Kaufman Turmkrane AG will be at the Rollout on the 29th of May, will you be there too?

Zurich, May 2018

PEEK from Victrex

Our project, Carbon Factory, aims to meet all the requirements of the medical and aerospace industry. Therefore we process the high-performance thermoplastic PEEK.

PEEK has a melting temperature of 335°C and is resistant to both chemicals and corrosion. The biocompatibility is of particular interest for the medical technology sector, whereas the high temperature resistance as well as the physical strength are especially relevant for aerospace engineering applications. We want to thank Victrex for supporting us with their PEEK filaments.

IN COOPORATION WITH INDUSTRY LEADING COMPANIES

Our Sponsors & Partners


To create and develop our project we rely on external support. We appreciate the help we recived from our partners. They are making our project possible by providing materials and know-how as well as helping with funding and production.

Carbon Factory offers your company a unique opportunity to get in contact with engineers, doctorates and professors of ETH Zurich and to benefit from the existing network.

An overview of the various sponsoring packages can be found in our brochure:


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Main Sponsor


Premium Sponsors

Sponsors

Patrons


Künzle Druck
Eperon Engineering GmbH
Böhler-Uddeholm Schweiz AG
Mädler
Festo
Heiniger AG
Eckmann Maurergeschäft


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