Additive Appliances looks to AM for coffee machine heat exchangers

November 25, 2021

Additive Appliances is developing additively manufactured heat exchangers for domestic coffee machines (Courtesy Pexels)

Additive Appliances, an Italian-based start-up developing optimised household appliances, has announced that, together with Kilometro Rosso Innovation District, it has secured an EU grant via the Digital Innovation Hub for its project to develop additively manufactured heat exchangers for domestic coffee machines. The funding is expected to accelerate Additive Appliances’ development of an efficient, more sustainable coffee machine.

In a coffee machine, controlling the water temperature and pressure is key to extracting the best out of the coffee, explained Additive Appliances. The machines can use electro-thermic devices to control the process variables, but this involves embedding several components which can be hard to recycle; thermo-mechanic devices, on the other hand, are easier to recycle, but don’t always perform as accurately, and have issues with repeatability and quality. Currently, consumers have to trade off between quality and sustainability, the company stated.

Additive Appliances aims at changing this by leveraging AM at different stages of product development, including final parts production. The blend of AM and conventional manufacturing makes it possible to control temperature and pressure through embedded, conformal, high-efficiency – yet ultra-compact – heat exchangers.

“If we look at the history of consumer products, major state-of-the-art advancements usually belong to new or improved technology. Coffee machines are no exception: steam power, electricity, and electronics are good examples of how technology impacted coffee brewing,” stated Tommaso Beccuti, Chief Executive Officer, Additive Appliances. “We are now adding digital manufacturing technologies to that list, pioneering the exploration of a new design and manufacturing space for coffee machines. Indeed, we believe many other appliances can be enhanced by AM, and our vision goes beyond coffee. Working with Kilometro Rosso will be a further step to fulfil it.”

The use of AM can also enable functional personalisation, where small batches can be engineered to exalt specialty coffee varieties, or to individual consumer preferences. AM can also reduce the overall number of components needed, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the equipment’s lifecycle from production to recycling.

The grant follows the closing of a successful pre-seed financing round and being announced as a winner in the AM Ventures-sponsored Additive Startup Italia competition. The DIH-World recognition is an important milestone, allowing the company to work closely with innovation districts like Kilometro Rosso and take advantage of the Digital Innovation Hub network.

Kilometro Rosso promotes Additive Manufacturing through Lisa Tech – the Living Space for Additive Technologies, a laboratory for companies and professionals who need AM production competencies and services. The laboratory is equipped with Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) AM machines and works with aluminium and titanium powders. The infrastructure also includes an optical tomography IR system that allows real-time control of the process and component quality.

Giuseppe De Marco, Additive Manufacturing Engineer at Kilometro Rosso, concluded, “Italy is one of the propulsion centres of the European manufacturing industry, and Kilometro Rosso is a point of reference for the territory. We are always open and receptive to innovation, serving partners and supporting all innovative initiatives which are projected towards the future. We are glad to support Additive Appliances through Lisa Tech, the Living Space for Additive Technologies. We are sure the collaboration will lead to new solutions development enabled by Additive Manufacturing technologies.”

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