The company houses 12 Stratasys machines in a dedicated 3D printing facility at its Pianoro headquarters, with two PolyJet multi-material systems being accompanied by ten Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) platforms, including one Fortus 900mc, four Fortus 450mc and five F270 machines. This fleet of 3D printing technology makes Marchesini one of Stratasys’ largest customers in Europe and has allowed the company to implement an entirely customised production business.
Each and every of its packaging machines is produced specific to the industry or customer’s processes, with 3D printing playing an integral role in its on-demand manufacturing processes.
“Producing complex, customised parts with traditional manufacturing methods has proved extremely costly and time-consuming, which is no longer suited to the growing demands of today’s packaging industry,” commented Mirko Fortunati, responsible for coordinating the Mechanical Workshops at Marchesini Group. “Importantly for our business, Stratasys additive manufacturing has enabled us to overcome these issues and adopt a customised production model. Integrating our industrial grade FDM 3D printers into our production process has drastically reduced our part lead times from several weeks to a few days. Having this on-demand production capability enables our engineers to take advantage of the greater design freedom enables by 3D printing, which has empowered Marchesini Group to achieve higher-quality results for our customers.”
Marchesini has utilised 3D printing throughout the design, development, manufacturing and maintenance of its automated packaging machines. Among the components to be additively manufactured are protective cases, cable support systems and junction boxes, which are printed using tough thermoplastics, such as Stratasys’ FDM Nylon 12CF filament or ULTEM 9085 resin, rather than machined from metal materials. Per Marchesini, it has helped to reduce the weight of some parts by 30%, increasing speed and productivity in its robotic packaging system, for example, and complying with industry standards. Spare parts are said to be delivered in record times thanks to 3D printing, while PolyJet technology is allowing the company to tackle complex designs that combine hard and rubber-like materials in a single component.
“It’s fair to say that additive manufacturing is an integral part of Marchesini Group production,” Fortunati said. “In 2019 alone, we recorded a total of 22,480 hours of operation for our FDM 3D printing equipment – equating to almost 15 hours a day. For our two PolyJet 3D printers, a total of 1,700 hours of operation, the equivalent of about eight hours a day. As we continue to expand these technologies across our design and production process, we can expect these figures to be even higher in the future.”