3D printing has long been regarded as the manufacturing technology of the future. Components made via 3D printing have set new standards for premium manufacturers in the automotive and aircraft industry. In the sanitary sector, Grohe is now offering the Atrio Icon 3D and Grohe Allure Brilliant Icon 3D, two tap designs created using 3D metal-printing. The company has advanced its 3D technology process to meet the challenges of metal printing.
Overcoming boundaries: Water as a visual experience
With the reinterpretation of the Atrio and Allure Brilliant lines by incorporating the Icon 3D design, Grohe states that it has taken product design and the joy of water to a whole new level. Michael Seum, Vice President Design at Grohe AG, says: “At Grohe, we believe that something completely new needs a bold vision. What is possible or not possible becomes a question of perspective. With Icon 3D we are opening up a completely new way of thinking about product design in the future. We overcome boundaries by using 3D metal-printing to create products that at first appear impossible. This production method offers the option to design taps in small quantities according to the wishes of our customers. There are no limits set for individual personalisation.”
Thomas Fuhr, Executive Director Operations Grohe AG, adds: “In order to be a pioneer in the industry and to further expand our technology leadership, we invest heavily not only in research and development, but also in innovative manufacturing processes in our plants. With 3D metal-printing, we are ringing in a new era in production which is made in Germany. We focus on our core business and use our taps to cover the entire value chain, clearly distinguishing us from our competitors. Essential to us is that we retain our proven Grohe quality and translate it into a 3D-metal-printed product. For this, we have developed our own process, whose magic lies in the powder, a unique formula for the granules that we make.”
Grohe’s 3D metal-printing process makes virtually any geometry possible. By refining the shapes to their bare essentials, the corrosion-resistant steel used as a raw, and at the same time highly castable, material also comes to the fore in the final product. The reduction of the design and the emphasis on the pure essence of the shapes not only saves valuable resources, but also offers a new interactive experience of water. The ultra-thin walls of the Grohe Atrio Icon 3D and the hollow interior in the familiar silhouette of Grohe Allure Brilliant make the water flow look like a magical, optical illusion. The taps of the two lines thus become an aesthetic highlight, available in a brushed raw steel finish.
Cutting-edge digital technology meets craftsmanship
Icon 3D combines state-of-the-art digital technology with hand-crafted, proven Grohe quality. The components are produced by printing metal, using a powder bed laser melting process. Each component for the tap consists of approximately 4,700 layers that are each 0.06 millimetres thick, providing it with forging strength. After printing, the component is mechanically treated on a CNC milling machine, followed by a manual grinding and fine brushing procedure as the last step of the finish. The elaborate process defines the exclusivity of the Icon 3D series; each product is unique and the collection is limited to a few pieces per year.
Starting in April 2019, Grohe Icon 3D will be available on request as an exclusive piece.