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Metal 3D Screen Printing from Fraunhofer Enables Batch 3D Printing of Metal Parts

by • March 17, 2016 • No Comments

In a few ways, we have Germany’s Fraunhofer system to thank for significant progress created in the 3D printing industry. In fact, actually the USA’s own America Makes institute and the synonymous National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) is modeled on Germany’s vast network of high end research facilities. And there’s a reason for it, the Fraunhofer institutes continually put out a few awe-inspiring work. One of the latest comes of Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Dresden, which has created a one-of-a-kind method for 3D printing metal which may have promising results for the rapid weight 3D printing of metal parts.

metal 3D screen printing Fraunhofer IFAM image

As it turns out, the new innovation takes a cue of screen printing. The layers of a printed object are translated into individual screens, which are placed into the system in such a way which a metal paste is spread over these stencils layer by layer. After the paste is laid down, each layer is sintered, burning out the binder and fusing the metal particles together into a solid part. With each layer, yet, the screens must be switched out manually, which is not desirable in a making environment. This in addition means which screens must be generated for each single layer in a print job.

metal 3D screen printing Fraunhofer IFAM system

Whilst the system has these disadvantages, Fraunhofer IFAM has may already demonstrated which metal 3D screen printing is really powerful. With only five various screens, the facility 3D printed a few 3,500 iron tubes in a single job, which they extrapolate to a production rate of 700,000 units per year. The system is in addition capable of satisfactory details of 60 microns. Fraunhofer suggests which hollow parts can yet be realized with this system and, additional than which, materials can be changed during the printing system, which they’ve proven by combining steel with ceramics.

metal 3D screen printing Fraunhofer IFAM metal tubes

To overcome the drawbacks of metal 3D screen printing, Fraunhofer IFAM envisions combining systems for making the screens themselves with the 3D printing equipment, aiming for an automatic system. Moreover, they believe it’s possible to scale up this system to have multiple machines all connected to one another to complete rates 1,000 cm³/h.

metal 3D screen printing Fraunhofer IFAM future

Because industrial 3D printing equipment are frequently optimized by primary companies to create a single part – ponder GE’s weight additive making facility devoted to 3D printing only the LEAP jet engine nozzle – actually a single automated metal 3D screen printing device may be implemented for the production of a batch of harsh metal parts. Once the screen has been perfected, only one system may 3D print all of the parts necessary in sizeable batches. Something to ponder of the upcoming time you are getting an artsy screen printed t-shirt.

All images via Fraunhofer IFAM’s Power Point presentation on the innovation, titled “3D SCREEN PRINTING MASS PRODUCTION OF METALS AND CERAMICS”.

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