All eyes on individuality
FIT is a synonym for the fascination of progress. We embody this at our AM Campus in Lupburg. Here we pursue the goal of bringing together people with innovative ideas and state-of-the-art technology in order to achieve measurable progress together. However, since this usually cannot be achieved in one day, we have built a boarding house with 48 trendy apartments on the site, which offers customers, guests and employees space for comfortable overnight stays and relaxed meetings.
The facade of our boarding house was to be assigned a look that was as individual as possible without, however, exceeding the limits of the budget. Together with architects Berschneider + Berschneider and Verotech, a subsidiary of the world's leading facade manufacturer STO, our product designers created a unique outer facade excelling by a distinctive pattern. This was made possible by an additively manufactured special tool.
Individuality begins with design
What is at the core of 3D printing? The triangle. It is the smallest three-dimensional shape and the basis of all additive manufacturing data models. By linking the individual triangles at their vertices, a mesh structure is created. It is the source of inspiration for the crystal-like relief cavities that ornate on the Boarding House facade. These crystals were developed in a total of three variants, each differing in size and geometry.
Through an intentionally random arrangement of the different crystals, various sample patterns were created, from which four final motifs were selected. To ensure that the more than 3,000 facade panels covering the Boarding House's outer facade harmoniously form a homogeneous whole, the FIT designers developed a blueprint defining the sequence ifs panels.
From prototype to installed facade
Since additive manufacturing of the crystals was significantly cheaper than conventional milling, the individual aluminum inserts were produced by laser melting (laser melting or PBF-LB/M). The parts were then blasted, ground flat and filled with PU foam. By inserted threads, they could then be mounted on press plates.
From these plates, initial test pressings were carried out at Verotech and trial samples were produced. Once the final production process had been defined and approved of at STO, the final press plates were mounted to the standard facade molds and production started.
To this goal, the mold was placed in a frame and covered with the powdered facade material. The material was then pressed, which imprinted the relief into the facade panel’s surface. Finally, the panels were kiln-fired and delivered as-is to the construction site. After the panels were installed, they received their final coat of black paint. Together with the golden balconies, they give the cubic building its extraordinary appearance.
The special process requirements
The particular challenge in this project was to bridge the gap between the client's individualization requirements and the possibilities of industrial facade production in order to meet the strict cost and quality specifications. FIT succeeded in this by developing an additively manufactured special tool. This made it possible to
Are you also looking for a special tool for your application? Then contact us. Together we will find a solution making good use of our rapid tooling services.
|FIT solution:||Rapid tooling (special tools)|
|Scope of services:||Tool design
Additive manufacturing and post-processing of inserts
Assembling of pressing tools
|Project duration:||6 months (from idea to installed facade)|
|Dimensions part 1:||177 x 91 x 65 mm (big crystal)|
|Lot size part 1:||12 pc|
|Dimensions part 2:||112 x 70 x 44 mm (medium crystal)|
|Lot size part 2:||32 pc|
|Dimensions part 3:||64 x 43 x 38 mm (small crystal)|
|Lot size part 3:||40 pc|
|Material (tool manufacturing):||Aluminum (AlSi10Mg)|
|Technology (tool manufacturing):||Laser melting (LM resp. PBF-LB/M)|
PU foaming of the molds (incl. threaded hole)