Italian 3D printing start-up Additive Appliances has received funding to support its R&D of a new heat exchanger made with additives for home coffee machines.
Having obtained the support of the EU Digital Innovation Hub and the technology accelerator Kilometro Rosso Innovation District, the company now aims to mix 3D printing with traditional production processes, as a means of integrating thermoregulation devices into coffee makers. which offer gains in size, efficiency and durability over those fitted to normal appliances.
“If we look at the history of consumer products, major breakthroughs usually belong to new or improved technology,” Tommaso Beccuti, CEO of Additive Appliances, told Metal AM. “We are now adding digital manufacturing technologies to this list, pioneering the exploration of a new design and manufacturing space for coffee machines.”
“We believe that many other devices can be improved by AM, and our vision goes beyond coffee. Working with Kilometro Rosso will be one more step to achieve this.
Innovation at the Rosso Kilometer
Based in Bergamo, Italy, Kilometro Rosso is a technology accelerator that offers a range of services designed to help start-ups like Additive Appliances fund and grow their ideas, before bringing them to market. The organization calls the first step on the path to getting there “technology transfer,” a process in which it explores, identifies potential value, and protects new products from duplication.
To help facilitate this early stage of the start-up’s development, Kilometro Rosso is working with various partners, including ceramic 3D printing specialist CeramTec and training lab Lisa Tech. The latter hosts training, research and service activities for those wishing to transition to additive manufacturing, and to make it easier for partners, it also has extensive part manufacturing and qualification capabilities.
Thanks to its partnership with EOS, for example, the lab is equipped with the EOS M290 DMLS 3D printer, a system that has now gained high performance aluminum compatibility from Fehrmann Alloys, as well as design, post-processing, tomographic analysis and quality. control equipment to make it ideal for start-ups looking to validate initial designs.
Turning the pressure on obsolescence
Created earlier this year in Turin, Additive Appliances is a company dedicated to developing a “new generation of household appliances”, including both coffee machines and personal care products. Between them, the company’s founders say they have over fifty years of business experience, including stints as executives at 3D printing companies, knowledge they have now built upon with their first device.
Essentially, Additive Appliances’ first product is a heat exchanger optimized for coffee makers, appliances that it says are generally essential for controlling water temperature and generating the most flavorful brew possible. Many existing machines are equipped with electrothermal devices composed of several parts which allow them to achieve this objective, but their embedded nature makes them very difficult to recycle.
In contrast, thermomechanical heat exchangers have fewer components, so they are much easier to recycle, but they tend to give less accurate, repeatable, or quality results. To help coffee lovers overcome this trade-off, Additive Appliances has developed a way to incorporate 3D printing into the part production process that unlocks more environmentally friendly in-vehicle devices.
The company says the introduction of additive manufacturing into the process also allows heat exchangers to be customised, raising the possibility that they can be tuned to deliver a particular type of coffee or to meet users’ needs. specific.
To bring its new device to market, Additive Appliances not only secured EU support, but also recognition as a winner of AM Ventures’ Additive Startup Italia competition. The company intends to continue working with Kilometro Rosso in its Lisa Tech Lab, which houses the LPBF printers, aluminum and titanium expertise and tomography systems needed to develop a full-fledged product.
“We are always open and receptive to innovation, serving partners and supporting all innovative initiatives that project into the future,” added Giuseppe De Marco, additive manufacturing engineer at Kilometro Rosso. “We are pleased to support Additive Appliances through Lisa Tech. We are sure that the collaboration will lead to the development of new solutions made possible by AM technologies. »
In search of the perfect brew with AM
Perfecting the coffee brewing process might not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of 3D printing, but surprisingly the technology has been used to achieve this many times before. Earlier this year, French start-up CAPS ME partnered with subsidiary ARMOR KIMYA to mass-print 3D reusable eco-friendly coffee capsules.
Similarly, sustainability-focused product developer Nexe Innovations has also used 3D printing in the R&D of its own plant-based compostable coffee pod. Over the past eight years, the company says embracing technology has allowed it to quickly iterate on its designs and develop a product compatible with commercial Nespresso machines.
Brooklyn-based design firm CREAM, on the other hand, took a different approach to creating the optimal cup of tea and used 3D printed molds to produce fully biodegradable tableware. Made from squash fruit, the company’s “HyO-Cups” are grown inside molds in a large container lab, before being dried, hardened and used as coffee cups.
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The featured image shows two cups of coffee being poured through a coffee machine. Image via Chevanon Photographypexels.