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A 3D Printer That Industrially Prints Silicones

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A 3D Printer That Industrially Prints Silicones
A 3D Printer That Industrially Prints Silicones

Video: A 3D Printer That Industrially Prints Silicones

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Video: Silicone materials for next generation 3D Printing 2023, February

The industrial 3D printer for Silicone Aceo Imagine Series K from Wacker should print faster than previous prototypes. "The printer is based on Aceo technology, a drop-on-demand process developed by Wacker," explains Bernd Pachaly, head of Wacker silicone research and responsible for the Aceo team. "It can be used to produce components or assemblies with complex geometries, including 'Impossible Products' that could not previously be manufactured."

3D printing in demand for medical applications

"The most important customer industries for 3D printing are currently the automotive, aerospace industry," says Pachaly, who started developing a system solution for 3D printing with silicones in 2014 together with his team. Additive manufacturing is currently growing fastest in medical applications. Bio-modeling and individualized, customer-specific geometries are particularly promising. "Silicones can show their advantageous properties especially for such applications," says the head of research. “Silicones are heat-resistant, flexible at low temperatures, transparent and biocompatible. They can also be colored as desired and dampened well."

3D scanner

How 3D scanners can be used in medicine

With the new printer, prototypes and small series can be produced quickly and efficiently. The 3D printing process is intended to offer product designers fascinating opportunities. The technology uses a drop-on-demand process. The printer head deposits tiny silicone droplets on a base. The workpiece is created layer by layer in this way. The silicone is formulated so that the droplets flow together before the crosslinking process is activated, which is done using ultraviolet light. The silicone droplets and layers create a homogeneous workpiece that hardly differs from parts made from injection molding. Overhangs and internal lattice structures can also be created using water-soluble support materials.

Realize your own designs in the web shop and technology center

Under the Aceo brand, Wacker also offers services for 3D printing with silicone. In a web shop, customers can upload their designs and order 3D-printed silicone molded parts. These are produced and shipped in the Print Fab. The team is available for consulting and development services when questions arise regarding the design and manufacture of molded silicone parts or assemblies.

The chemical company operates its own 3D technology center, the so-called Aceo Campus, near the main plant in Burghausen in Upper Bavaria. Here, customers can test and implement their own product ideas in an Open Print Lab. (kj)

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