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Toasting is easier thanks to 3D printing - Robino & Galandrino

Complex elements of wine bottling machinery now made in 3D with fewer components, reduced costs and weight.

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The company

Robino & Galandrino was born in the home of traditional Italian sparkling wine, in Canelli, in the Asti area. The company has been able to grow alongside the area’s largest national winemaking operations and has successfully established itself as a bottling machinery manufacturer both on Italian soil and abroad serving several markets around the world.

For Robino & Galandrino, it has been fundamental to be constantly challenged by those who aim to provide the best answer to every customer problem, always suggesting new technological solutions and responding with punctuality, effectiveness and flexibility to the evolving needs of the market.

The need

How to make components with very complex shapes?

To automate wine production processes, Robino & Galandrino builds machines for automatic dispensing, capsuling, and tying of bottle cages used in the sparkling wine and Champagne industries.

Because bottles and caps must be carefully matched, the automatic machines they make, must be able to coordinate the movements of the individual components along the line. This need requires articulated movements that require Robino & Galandrino engineers to research component designs with complex shapes.

With traditional machine tools and machining centers it is not possible to easily achieve these geometries, consequently some machining operations include multiple steps to arrive at a finished part.

Usually the parts are made up of multiple elements and therefore also have assembly issues, lengthening production times and significantly increasing costs.


Robino & Galandrino’s needs were mainly three:

  • 1

    Reduce the time

    Find a system to drastically reduce the design and fabrication time for both prototypes and individual finite elements used directly in the operation of their machines.

  • 2

    Reduce the number of components

    Reduce as much as possible the number of components stored in the warehouse so that the lead time of a part is shortened and it does not become obsolete. This is a fundamental need shared by many manufacturing or automated machinery companies.

  • 3

    Reduce weight

    Eliminate mechanical design constraints in order to have parts with reduced weights. Robino & Galandrino's machines are subjected to prolonged work cycles, and these dynamics force designers to make parts with special shapes to reduce their weight.

The solution

3D printing to simplify and lighten

A couple of years ago, Robino & Galandrino began considering the possibility of incorporating alternative technologies to the traditional machining used up to that point into the design and production flow of its machinery, including Additive Manufacturing. At that stage it turned to 3DZ, the leading reseller of various 3D printing technologies.

To meet both the need to easily make functional components with complex shapes and to obtain components with high mechanical performance, 3DZ recommended two complementary 3D printers to Robino & Galandrino. It now boasts a Fuse 1+ 30W plastic powder SLS printer from Formlabs and a Mark Two filament printer from Markforged in its fleet.

R&G first prototyped the parts in robust materials to perform functional tests, then, before long, began using the same printers to produce final parts. These 3D printed parts were inserted directly into the machines.

Given the continued use of 3D printed parts, a division was created in the company dedicated to the design and manufacture of parts using Additive Manufacturing technologies.

The introduction of 3D printing at various stages of the business provided an answer to all previously identified needs.

“We began to redesign the elements without concern that the shapes were too complex and not feasible or had too high a cost. It was possible to produce components, which previously consisted of several elements, in one piece. Since there was no longer a need to make stock, we became much quicker to obtain components, even with variants requested by customers.”

Flavio Clarillo Technical Director - Robino & Galandrino

The benefits of 3D printing: some examples of items made

Mario Bianco, Technical Manager of the new 3D printing department, shares the details of some of the elements that are mounted on different machines produced by Robino & Galandrino, illustrating the advantages related to the new production methods for each part.

Component number reduction and footprint optimization

Divaricatore Sleeve

Component dedicated to the enlargement and arrangement of a thermoplastic film on the bottles along their path inside the machine.

BEFORE, this part was composed of 2 separate elements: the lower part, made from a bar from rebar, and the upper part obtained from a plate. These two components then had to be assembled by machining and adjustment at assembly because the machine tools could not handle the complex geometries to properly form the thermoplastic film.

NOW: The advantage related to the use of 3D printers for this part is the ability to create complex geometries in a single element that does the same job as the two assembled parts, optimizing overall dimensions.

In the case of objects that are too large for the working volume of the printer, interlocking systems can be provided.

For Bianco: “In addition to obtaining a part with better characteristics there has also been a significant reduction in cost related to the lack of the no longer necessary assembly and subsequent adjustment phase. This is an element that in our machines is replaced for each format, for various types of bottles or customer needs.”

Reduced processing steps

Capsule distribution bell with integrated springs

BEFORE: Initially Robino & Galabrino started from an ABS mold to create a semi-finished element which was then bored with turning operations along the internal profiles to adapt it to the actual diameter of the capsules to be placed on the wine bottle. There was also a small spring inserted inside the bell which served to create the correct friction to support the capsule inside.

NOW: With 3D SLS technology the piece has been redesigned so that it can be printed already reamed and the spring has been obtained directly during the printing phase, designing small elements inside the recess of the piece which remain flexible, allowing to block the capsules inside. Small grooves have also been created which allow the air flows to be used to optimize the insertion of the elements inside.

Mario Bianco summarizes the advantages thus: “We have gone from a process that involved mold pre-processing, a second processing with machine tools, a subsequent assembly of metal elements to the current one which involves the production of a single component that comes out directly from the printer, it is brushed, sanded and is ready for insertion into the machinery. This led to a reduction in costs and we obtained an object with better characteristics.”

Customized elements at reduced cost

Air flow partialization valve with mechanical control

This is a very complex element. The need was to have valves to divide the air flows and which could perform the expected movements at very high speeds mechanically.

By exploiting the combination of elements printed with reinforced filaments and plastic powders, the Robino & Galandrino technicians have created a new successful design from scratch.

Mario Bianco explains: “We started with the creation of the body and the butterfly inside in PA12 with the Fuse 1+ 30W, combining two small steel shafts while the control lever is made with the Mark Two by Markforged in carbon fiber to withstand the shocks it receives through this bearing as the valve reaches up to 20,000 cycles per hour. By combining these two technologies we managed to have a customized valve that meets our needs which, if made with the mold, would have had considerable costs. Even just developing such a valve would have entailed great study difficulties.”

Air distributor

BEFORE: It was made from a calendered perforated steel tube and connected to compressed air to support the capsules during a processing phase. It was a very simple element.

NOW: With the use of SLS technology this element has been completely revolutionized. During the design phase, a branch was foreseen that allows the capsules to be better supported, given that it is capable of directing the air flows according to needs.

For Mario Bianco: “We have completely changed our working method and we no longer have assembly and adaptation problems. In the past, adapting a welded steel tube was a difficult task to accomplish.”

3DZ support

The support of 3DZ allowed the managers of Robino & Galandrino to choose which types of 3D printers were the most suitable for obtaining the details that make up their machinery.

After understanding in detail the characteristics necessary to create components that met the standards and objectives that the company had set itself, 3DZ proposed various options to allow you to make an informed choice.

According to Flavio Clarillo:

“The 3DZ experts directed us to the technologies we needed, and accompanied us step by step through the introduction of 3D printing in the company. Today we have two printers, one wire-based from Markforged and one powder-based from Formlabs, and we have created a company division dedicated to 3D design and printing.

After choosing the ideal technologies, 3DZ’s relationship with Robino & Galandrino did not end, but continued with the certified technical support of the 3DZ team necessary to ensure that the printers are always ready and able to work at full speed.

“3DZ is also supporting us in after-sales, both for advice on the use and choice of materials or on the optimal functioning of the machines and for maintenance, assistance and interventions in the event of breakdowns.
We are very satisfied with both the quality of the after-sales service and the timing. We are now trying, together with 3DZ, to explore other solutions such as being able to produce elastomers in particular to create specific items for our machines.”

Flavio Clarillo Technical Director - Robino & Galandrino