Fraunhofer IWU researchers have developed a new high-speed 3D printer for producing large volumes of high-performance plastics.
According to the researchers, the new Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM) system is said to be eight times faster than conventional 3D printing.
3D printing large-volume plastic components is a time-consuming affair. This is quite evident when one has to build small souvenirs layer by layer from melted plastic.
Moreover, the traditional 3D printing process is far too slow for mass-producing components as and when needed by the automotive industry.
This is where the SEAM printer stands out: the system’s high-speed technology takes only 18 minutes to produce a plastic component that is 30 centimeters high.
The system’s high process speeds were achieved by combining machine tool technology with 3D printing, asserts IWU scientist Dr. Martin Kausch.
To process the plastic, the researchers use a specially designed unit that melts the raw material and ejects it at a high output rate.
This unit is installed above a construction platform that can be swiveled in six axes by using the motion system of a machine tool.
The hot plastic is then deposited in layers on the construction platform.
The motion system of the machine ensures that the construction panel slides along under the nozzle in such a way that the previously programmed component shape is produced.
According to the researchers, the table can be moved at a speed of one meter per second in the X-, Y- and Z-axes and can also be tilted by up to 45 degrees.
“This enables us to print eight times faster than conventional processes, enormously reducing the production times for plastic components,” reports Kausch.
Image and content: Fraunhofer IWU