A new method for manufacturing food machinery parts on demand has been developed by a 3D printing company.

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Addition Design, a design and industrial 3D printing firm based in Sheffield, has recently developed an innovative new process that will revolutionize the way food manufacturers access blue food-contact components. This breakthrough extends Addition Design’s existing “AddParts” service, which provides digital spares for automated production lines using 3D scanning, digital data management, and industrial 3D printing, to the food processing sector. The technique addresses several longstanding issues that have hindered the adoption of industrial 3D printing in the food industry, including the need for low-cost, fast turnaround, blue food contact components that comply with food safety regulations and production line efficiency requirements.

According to Tom Fripp, the director at Addition Design, ensuring that any broken component on a food production line does not enter the final food product is crucial. Historically, the use of blue plastic component parts has been employed to quickly and easily identify broken parts and allow for investigation and replacement. However, this requirement has posed a challenge in the context of 3D printing, as it is difficult to produce cost-effective, high-quality certified blue food contact parts using traditional 3D printing processes. Most approaches require the material itself to be blue, which significantly increases the cost of manufacturing.

Addition Design’s new process, developed exclusively for AddParts, aims to address this challenge and bring the food industry up to speed with the wider adoption of industrial 3D printing in manufacturing. With this process, parts can be produced on demand for manufacturers using Addition Design’s Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine and then post-processed to meet food contact requirements. All components supplied by the AddParts service come with certification of conformity and traceability, ensuring compliance. This capability is now extended to meet the specific requirements of the food manufacturing industry, including the need for low-cost, fast turnaround, durable, blue food contact components.

The food and drinks industry is one of the largest sectors in UK manufacturing, and Addition Design’s AddParts service is perfectly suited to support it. However, the specific requirements for blue food contact components have posed challenges in the past. With the introduction of this groundbreaking process, Addition Design can finally meet the industry’s needs. The company plans to officially launch this new process at the upcoming PPMA Show in Birmingham, the largest processing and packaging machinery exhibition in the UK. This launch will provide an opportunity for food manufacturers to witness firsthand the capabilities of Addition Design’s innovative solution for accessing blue food-contact components through industrial additive manufacturing.

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