Pellet extruder for composite thermoplastic 3D printing

A CEAD solution

CEAD’s Robot extruders as technology components

CEAD offers its printheads as technology components that can be used to build large scale 3D printers. These printheads are often referred to as the robot extruder since they are regularly integrated with robotics but can also be integrated with gantry based solutions.

By using pellet material instead of filaments for 3D printing, operational and part cost are reduced. This solution includes everything needed for extruding thermoplastic pellet material. Including the printhead, software, electronics, material storage and material handling system.

Printing head E25

The E25 has an excellent weight to output ratio and is specifically designed for integration with a robot arm. The extruder is a fully stand alone unit that can be integrated with the robot or CNC controller in several ways. The E25 is specifically designed for large scale 3D printing and is successfully tested with a lot of different materials ranging from commodity materials like PP up to high performance materials like PEEK. The E25 has a screw diameter of 25mm, uses 4 heat zones and comes fully nitrited for good resistance against abrasivePP materials like highly fiber filled thermoplastics.


  • Weight of extruder is < 29 kg
  • Max output of 12 kg/hr
  • Nozzle range from 2mm up to 12mm
  • High torque 20:1 planetary gearbox
  • Siemens servo motor
  • Material storage of 25 kg
Robot Extruder E25
Robot Extruder E25 for large scale 3D printing
Robot Extruder E25 for large scale 3D printing

Printing head E40

The E40 large format additive manufacturing printing head has been developed around a high output to weight ratio. The newest addition to the robot extruder family has a max output of up to 40 kg/hr (PIP-G).

Just like the E50 and E25 extruders, the E50 can be operated as a stand alone unit. The E50 is built with a focus on CEAD’s Flexbot. This combination ensures high output and maximum flexibility and accuracy.


  • Weight of the extruder is <70 kg
  • Max output of 40kg/h (PIP-G)
  • Nozzle range from 4mm up to 24mm
  • High torque 1:38,5 planetary gearbox
  • Length: 180 cm, width: 40 cm, depth: 30 cm
  • Temperatuur: 0 – 450º Celsius
  • Total power output: 15 kW

Printing head E50

The E50 is developed for high output large scale 3D printing. The printhead is a fully stand alone unit that The extruder is a fully stand alone unit that can be integrated with the robot or CNC controller in several ways. The E50 is specifically designed for large scale 3D printing and is successfully tested with a lot of different materials ranging from commodity materials like PP up to high performance materials like PEEK. The E50 has a screw diameter of 50mm.


  • Weight of extruder is 165 kg
  • Max output of 84 kg/hr
  • Nozzle range from 8mm up to 20mm
  • Siemens servo motor 15KW
  • External dryer required 400 L
Robot Extruder E50
Robot Extruder E50
Robot Extruder E50

Print beds

Stable & accurate building platform
Proprietary print beds are produced by CEAD to provide a rigid, stable and easy to use building platform. The print bed uses aluminum profiles (hook – picture) to mechanically secure your print to the print bed surface.

During printing, these profiles create a non permanent mechanical bond between the bed and the printed object. The lever on the side of the print bed will break this mechanical bond releasing the printed object. This feature is unique in its kind and was firstly introduced by CEAD and is up till now the only provider of such a solution.

The print bed can be upgraded with the heated bed function. This upgrade gives you a print surface of up to 100 ° C (212 ° F), which works great for materials that require more gradual cooling.

Pellet Extruders

Light weight & Easy to mount
The extruder is engineered to be lightweight for the sole purpose of mounting it on a robotic arm. While several different types of robotic arms are available on the market today, we aim to be able to install the extruder on most types, weighing in at a little under 29 kilograms.

Multi materials
The extruder is able to use a wide variety of materials ranging from PP to PPS filled with carbon or glass fibres. A steady flow of plastic pellets to the barrel is achieved by blowing air from the 25kg container through a maximum of 20 meters transportation hose, in to the inlet located at the top of the extruder assembly.

High production output and low cost
Using pellets materials for 3D printing is cheaper than using filaments reducing operational and part cost. Another benefit of using pellets for 3D printing is the higher outputs than filament based machines. Depending on the material this extruder can reach outputs of up to 12kg/hr

High Torque stable control system
With an Siemens servo motor as a drive system we obtain maximum stability and reliability. Extremely high torques are readily available because of the implemenation of a 20:1 planetary gearbox. The combination of a servo motor and a planetary gearbox make the drive system the best performance possible.

Easy to Swap nozzle
The nozzle is located at the very end of the extruder barrel. The lowered complexity for the geometry of the nozzle allows for a variety of types to be installed. Nozzle sizes can range from 2mm up to 12mm depending on your application.

Stand alone
The whole system is operated through a Siemens touchscreen, which runs our specifically designed software. This software is the result of years of experience in plastics extrusion, 3D printing, and machinery development. When needed the extruder can be operated as a stand alone unit. It is also possible to connect this system to your robot or machine. This gives your robot the control over the extruder.

The extruder can be connected to virtually any robot controller. We can supply multiple connection methods, including: Profinet, Profibus, Fieldbus or digital I/O.  All components inside the extruder and cabinet are controlled by an industry standard PLC (Siemens).  Let us know if you need help with connecting your robot to our extruder or if you have special request. Our software engineers can help and advice you in any situation.

Specifications E25

Weight extruder < 29kg / 64lbs
Total height 920mm / 34”
Width 230mm / 9”
Depth 340mm / 13.5”
Screw diameter 25mm / 0.98”
Compression ratio 1:3
Mounting on robot Aluminium mount
Nozzle-bracket dist. 435mm / 7.1”
Heat zones 4
Cooling zone 1 (material inlet)
Heat control Siemens PID
Cooling Water cooled
Control system Siemens S7-1200
Human machine interface Siemens KTP-700
Software CEAD custom
Power Servo motor 0.75 kw
Drive system Siemens servo motor
Heating power 1,7kw
Extruder control RPM, servo motor
RPM control Internal controllable by HMI or
Externally with 0-10v or 4-20ma or
externally connected to your robot / system
Material transport Integrated
Material storage > 25kg / > 55lbs
Material transport max. distance 20 meter (10 meter is standard)
Material transport control system Automatic by CEAD custom software


Extruder temperatures

All different heating zones are controllable through the touchscreen. Motor and screw RPM are also shown. The extruder includes several safety features for reliable and safe operation.

Complete control

In the settings menu the user has control over the system. Limits can be programmed as well as controlling both funnel temperature and material transport.

Recipes, storing different settings

Printing with a variety of materials, locations and weather conditions, involve different settings for different materials. So called ‘Recipes’ are saveable presets of settings for the system. This allows for a quick set up when starting the machine with a known material. All recipes can be both exported and imported through USB connection ports which allows for easy sharing.

Logging of the process

A variety of sensors keep track of the temperatures along the different heating zones during set intervals. The extruder speed set point and realtime speed are monitored as well. All this information will be displayed real time and consequently logged to storage. The operator can save the logged files on a usb stick. This allows for quality control, troubleshooting, optimization and streamlining the process.


We are constantely trying to proces new materials on this extruder. With the high temperature and high torque design we can virtually process all available materials. This is a list of tested materials, contact us if you would like to test your material on our system.

Material Filler material
ABS Thermocomp ac004xxar1 20% Carbon fiber
ABS Thermocomp af004xxar1 20% Glass fiber
Arnite (PET) 50% Glass fiber
Nylon PA6 10% Carbon fiber
PET 30% Glass fiber
PESU, electrafill 1810 Carbon fiber
PP 30% Glass fiber
PP 50% Glass fiber
PPS 30% Carbon fiber
PEEK 30% Carbon fiber

Material test PESU 1810 carbon fibre

Complete robot solutions

CEAD is a developer of large-scale 3D printers and equipment. We have developed and build large-scale composite pellet 3D printers based on gantry style machines and on robots. An example is the combination of 3D printing and 5 axis cnc machining for the production of tooling and moulds. We are happy to help and advice you with the right system for your application. Choose one of the solutions below for more information or contact us directly.


Fill in the contact form in order to discuss the options and possibilities or download the robot extruder brochure.

Check the box(es) of the options which should be included in the quotation
If desired, please let us know your application. Any specific materials you want to use? For example: Will the extruder be used on a robot arm or cartesian system?