S series

3D Printing for Mass Production in the Food Industry: The Policom Case

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Bennie Sham

December 15, 2023

Story produced by UltiMaker partner 3DiTALY.


We now present a work recently completed at our new Reggio Calabria office. This case history fits right into the set of solutions elaborated for the production of companies and professionals. Solutions that 3DiTALY has studied thanks to the potential of digital fabrication and additive manufacturing. 3D printing, in fact, is a technology that makes it possible to create customized and specific components for the food industry. These components can be tools such as funnels, machine parts or other devices useful in food production and packaging. The distinguishing feature of 3D printing is the ability to create custom-designed objects. For this very reason, instead of using standard or generic parts, food companies can design and create components tailored to their particular needs. This customization enables optimization of production processes and greater efficiency in the production chain.


UltiMaker for custom tools in production chains

Policom is a company that mainly produces almond milk, but also other products. The company approached us for 3D modeling and 3D printing of a funnel useful for bagging almond paste bags. Thus, it is about designing custom-made tools that, when inserted into the production chain, improve its efficiency and reduce its costs. On the other hand, we had already achieved very good results in this area. This is because evolved filament 3D printers like UltiMaker can become tools that greatly facilitate and accelerate processes. An UltiMaker will help you achieve OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). Indeed, when market demand changes rapidly, 3D printing offers a way to respond at the same pace. Without having to wait for outsourced production. Test your lines right away with sample packaging that can be 3D printed overnight.


3DiTALY: professional consulting and design service

Everything naturally started with design. Our service department gathered the client's needs and set to work to formulate a quote. Once approved, the computer-aided design (CAD) work started. The design was thought elaborated and engineered with Autodesk Fusion 360 3D modeling software. Fusion 360 is an ideal tool for precise design, shared among multiple operators in the cloud, and most importantly, parametric. This means that if any client requirement changes, you can easily step in to make non-destructive changes to the entire model. In this regard, our training section, the 3DiTALY Training Center, provides training courses on this software for companies and professionals.


A viable application of the 3DiTALY AMP line

To complete this job, we used the UltiMaker S7 3D printer, loaded with Igus Iglidur i150 filament. Igus was used because it has FDA food certification and because it is an abrasion-resistant material. Igus Iglidur i150 is a material that is part of our new line called AMP (Alternative Materials to Peek). This library of materials for filament 3D printing was created with the goal of analyzing the need of companies and providing an alternative solution to Peek that maintains the same performance and improves usability and accessibility. Peek is a high-performance engineering polymer that is used as a substitute for metal in many applications. It has two major drawbacks: it is very expensive and it is difficult to use. In 3DiTALY we have identified 4 main technical characteristics of Peek (mechanical, thermal, chemical and abrasion resistance) and found good alternatives with the same performance, but at a lower price and easier to use. Among them we find the Igus.

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