Twelve European companies have developed the mobile factory CassaMobile under the direction of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. The green and white container may look inconspicuous from the outside, but inside there is an intelligent mini factory with a 3D printing system.
Transport, Arrive, and Produce
The dimensions of the container were deliberately chosen in such a way that it can barely be driven over the roads without an escort. Once on site, you can start immediately: The fully equipped container is transported to its destination. Once there, it only needs electricity, water, and compressed air.
The core module of the production plant is the 3D printer, which was developed at the Fraunhofer IPA. The scientists combine two materials for printing: polyamide is usually used for the component itself. The places where no material is to be found later are first filled with a support material. This is then dissolved in a solvent. The printing materials are available as rolled up plastic cords. The string is melted and deposited in a line on the substrate.
Possible Applications Medical Technology
A portable factory of this kind is especially interesting for medical technology products that could be manufactured by means of a mobile factory in the immediate vicinity of the clinic. The big advantage is significantly shorter delivery times.
For example, the CassaMobile can be used to produce bone drilling templates that are currently only produced at a few locations and therefore have delivery times of up to one week. The minifactory covers all work steps - from the production of bone drilling templates in 3D printing to post-processing in a milling machine to quality inspection and sterile packaging.
Possible Applications Crisis Areas
Since the factory has a modular structure, other tailor-made products can also be manufactured directly on site. The process chain can be flexibly changed or extended. Individual modules can also be omitted. It could be used in disaster areas, for example after an earthquake. This would allow producing the components that the technical emergency service urgently needs directly on site - for example to restore the drinking water supply.
CassaMobile is also an alternative in areas where it would be difficult to build a factory due to the lack of infrastructure.