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Fraunhofer Invents New Method for 3D Screen Printing of Metals

by • February 24, 2016 • No Comments

inside3dprinting-dus04Whenever you are at a show on additive producing, and you see the Fraunhofer Institute stand, you can be sure that if you stop by they are going to show you a new new innovation or technological approach. Inside 3D Printing/METAV in Düsseldorf confirmed this, as Fraunhofer presented an new producing system for high precision screen printing of metal parts.

The system, that was created in cooperation with Bauer Technologies, allows for for weight production of tiny metallic parts with sure details that may not be produced by SLM or binder jetting powder bed technologies.frau2

“Screen printing is a highly promising system for the producing of tiny, exact and cost effective metallic parts with closed structures,” explained Sebastian Riecker of Fraunhofer IFAM, the Insitute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials. “The advantages of this innovation is that it empowers the production of harsh structured parts and most different types of parts simultaneously. We can use it to shape structures down to a micrometer scale and for applications in different types of materials systems. The system in addition offers a high aspect ration and high reproducibility that makes it perfect for weight production.”

Judging by what was on display at the Fraunhofer stand, the advantages do not end here. Riecker showed a set of closed channels for heat exchangers with spaces and walls so thin that may be quite complex or not easy to reproduce by metal powder bed based systemes. The final piece does need a heat treatment but no post systeming and the surface high end is as close to final shape as it gets.

The cell diameter goes as low as 0.1 mm for any user described dimensions, while cell height goes of several millimeters to a few centimeters (the innovation is not perfect for quite tall parts). Wall thickness can easily go as low as 50 micron (with a maximum of 1000 micron).

frau1Screen printing works with a paste (a “powder/binder slurry”) created up of metallic powders. These can be both atomized, thus perfectly spherical, but in addition dendritical, that means that they are unactually and yet combine with every other in the paste material. Available materials include stainless steel, copper, titanium, complex metals, PM light alloys and actually PM sintered metals. The printable weight goes through an “automated mask produced of a the CAD file” for layer on layer printing.

Examples of applications span across all fields where AM is generally implemented, which include aerospace, energy management, precision mechanical engineering, electronics and car. These include fuel cell components, catalyst carriers, high precision lightweight construction, micro mechanics, heat exchangers and insulation, electrodes, bio­implants and actually jewelry.

More and additional, 3D printing is shaping into a “state of mind” pretty than a innovation, with new approaches appearing that cannot be replaced by any other approach. The number of technologies is multiplying pretty than consolidating into a few dominate systemes and that is for the reason 3D printing is not only a new producing innovation but pretty an entirely new way of producing things, all things. That’s what they do at Fraunhofer.frau3