A new manufacturing paradigm
for large scale critical parts
One Platform, One Provider, One Solution
Heron AM is the integrated hardware and software platform developed 100% in-house by Caracol for the production of the most advanced large format applications.
We understand your needs because we are the first end-user for our system.
We developed Heron AM first of all as end-users. With 7+ years of research, 29'000+ hours of printing, and 150+ projects in sectors like Aerospace, Automotive, Energy, Marine, Architecture & Design.
Caracol has developed a lightweight and compact extruder, which can process a wide range of polymers and composite materials in pellet form.
The small size ensures the system’s greater agility during the printing phase by limiting the risks of the extruder colliding with the printed parts while maintaining a high flow rate.
These characteristics make the machine ideal for printing at high speed while ensuring the highest quality in material processing.
We want to provide the best performance and quality for industrial manufacturing with polymers and composites.
HERON AM can be flexibly integrated in our clients’ shopfloor with different customizable options. Our Engineering team works hand-in-hand with clients to customize the exact layout, additional features, and define the custom configuration that best suits their needs.
When it comes to manufacturing advanced applications and printing high-performance composites and polymers, we enclose the system into protective climatized cells that allows to control several environmental parameters throughout the production process, such as temperature and humidity.
Controlling these environmental elements allows us to track several production indicators and guarantee process repeatability, quality, and safety requirements for clients, in accordance with AS/EN 9100 standards.
There are different options for system configuration:
- Structural Insulated Cells
- Mobile Container for LFAM systems
- Open Air System (e.g., Safety Light Curtains)
The expertise developed through the years in Design and Manufacturing for LFAM, slicing strategies, and robotic cinematics, allowed us to create our own integrated software platform.
This platform allows us to manage in one seamless workflow 3D CAD optimization for AM integrating advanced features: computational design techniques, complex slicing to optimize printing for complex geometries, generation and programming of non-planar or non-orthogonal robotic tool paths (e.g., 45° printing, conformal printing, hollow structure design), time, material, and cost simulation and full workflow g-code generation.
This is connected to our Control Panel. To fully automate our turnkey solution and provide seamless management of all technological elements by end-users, we developed a custom automation control panel that integrates all the inputs coming from the robot, the extruder, the feeding system, and the software into one pad that can activate and manage the full printing process.
Through the control panel, the operator will be able to set up and control all parameters such as on/off signals, movement, speed, temperature, and full cell calibration.
Caracol has chosen to develop its LFAM system with robotic arms as movement support to leverage their flexibility - such as their 6-axis movement. This allows to easily print very complex geometries that may require non-planar tool paths, and unconventional slicing, for example, 45° printing to create hollow structures.
Robotic arms are simple to manage logistics-wise and can be easily transported and set up within existing production spaces without needing to build structural elements.
Today Caracol works with a variety of models from KUKA Roboter - mostly from the Quantec Line. The robot chosen defines the potential size of applications manufactured with the system. Nonetheless, they can easily be set up on a 7th axis, a track, to extend the size to 15m.
The automated material feeding system we developed, connects a dehumidifying unit to the extruder to input pellets directly and continuously during the whole job, with no need to stop or to intervene manually. Pellets are stored at the right humidity and temperature and dried for best performance and quality.
The standard unit holds up to 80kg and can be directly connected to bigger storage (e.g., bigbag, octabin, etc…), for potential illimited hours of uninterrupted printing.
The printing bed works through mechanical gripping of the manufactured parts, which is ideal to maintain the shape of large-scale components. The printing bed consists of a robust aluminum frame and custom interchangeable panels, to which the first layer adheres, ensuring part stability throughout the job.
The printing bed can be customized in proportion and size as required, also depending on the set-up selected by the client.
Extruder Screw Custom Profiles to process specific materials
7th Axis Track to print up to 15-meter-long parts or print parts in series
CNC milling head integration for post-processing
Print Bed customization
Multiple Material Feeding storage units to extend capacity over standard 80kg
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Write to our team at the contact form above to receive our brochure.
we work with advanced POLYMERS & Composites...
PP GF -
Polypropylene with 30% Glass Fiber
Good mechanical properties and lightweight. Ideal to replace glass fiber and aluminum applications. This material has been qualified by Caracol for the production of Marine structural parts and Aerospace molds and tools. It can go up to 80° c as a working temperature.
PA CF -
Polyamide + 30% Carbon Fiber
Stiff, flame-retardant, and lightweight. PA CF is suitable for high mechanical performance, light structures exposed to medium heat environments. It is ideal for metal replacement to reduce costs and weight. It goes up to 130 MPa Tensile Strength and 150°C working temperature.
PC CF -
Policarbonate with 20% Carbon fiber
This composite offers great thermal and mechanical properties. It has been qualified for mid-temperature autoclave processes, as can go up to 130° degrees and 3-6 bars in terms of working temperature and pressure.
TPE FLEX -
TPE high strength and flex elastomer
This TPE-based high-strength and flexibility elastomer, enables us to print large-scale rubber-like parts. It is ideal for topologically optimized pliable structures, such as cushions and seating. It goes up to 90 Shore A and 80°c as a working temperature.
...AND WITH RECYCLED MATERIALS TO ENABLE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Thanks to our direct-printing pellet extruders, we can work with a wide variety of recycled materials obtained from grinding waste or parts at the end of their life, collecting client’s waste, or by purchasing material from upcycled sources.
e.g., PLA, PP or PP GF, PET-G
FIND YOUR MANUFACTURING SOLUTION
Caracol strives every day to find a way to solve the most
complicated manufacturing needs for our clients.
Check out what we can do for you.