Three-dimensional printing of polymer, metal or ceramic components is an additive manufacturing technology and enables the manufacture of individual and complex products for a variety of applications. Up to now, this manufacturing process has been a batch process and has required costly maintenance.
Sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM have developed a new production line which facilitates a continuous and automated operation for liquid synthetic materials. The first components for the consumer sector have already been manufactured.
Powder-based continuous procedures already exist. However, the manufacturing principle cannot be transferred to liquid materials as they are used in the stereolithography process. During conventional stereolithography, selected areas of each layer are cured by radiation of UV light.
This process is repeated layer by layer until the corresponding number of layers for the construction of the components has been completed. The elements are subsequently removed from the installation space, which is then set up again. This is a complex procedure which currently stands as an obstacle to mass production and also demands highly qualified staff.
Continuous manufacture using the layer-by-layer principle
The newly developed process uses the technology of continuous photopolymerisation based on the digital light processing system for the layer-by-layer manufacture of components. The significant difference compared with the usual production systems for additive manufacturing is that this new approach uses a rotating cylinder as the substrate and the flat platform is simply omitted.
The lower part of this cylinder is submerged in a liquid polymer in the process and is illuminated by multiple light sources at an exactly defined and increasing range. This is necessary in order that the polymer can selectively be cured on the surface of the cylinder in different areas at various stages.
As the cylinder gradually rotates, a three-dimensional component is built-up layer by layer on the submerged part of the cylinder. The manufactured components on the top of the cylinder can automatically be detached from the surface. The substrate surface is then ready again and the process can fully proceed.
Continuous manufacture is a great advantage particularly in view of the use of resources, as complete components constantly leave the production line and therefore operations are stabilised and thus improved. Up to now, the production cycle times of the traditional additive manufacturing procedures have been incomparable with conventional production lines of mass production.
The approach of the Fraunhofer IFAM researchers is directed towards cost-effective individual mass production and will significantly improve the economic efficiency of the additive manufacturing technique.
Sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation, file number: 87473
Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM
Juan Isaza M.Eng.
Telephone +49 421 2246-180
Martina Ohle | Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM
CeGlaFlex project: wafer-thin, unbreakable and flexible ceramic and glass
25.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Additive manufacturing, from macro to nano
11.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences
25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences