As 3D printing becomes an increasingly accepted manufacturing technology, one area that has continued to raise problems is that of the choice of materials.
ViscTec, is a specialist developer of dosing and dispensing systems has launched a series of print heads that offer a way to resolve these issues: by enabling standard materials to be used.
As the company points out, in industrial manufacturing, especially in the automotive and electronics sectors, a number of procedures are carried out prior to commencing full scale production of a component. These include the validation of the adhesives or the materials to be processed, such as thermal pastes, silicones, damping pastes, solder pastes, and others. The first step is an analysis of the specifications are analysed, taking the manufacturing conditions and the complete product life cycle into consideration and the parameters for the selection of a suitable adhesive are defined. The adhesive application and bonded joint are validated through testing.
Next, the validated adhesive is adapted to the customer’s specific application. The entire process can be extremely time-consuming. Validating a new adhesive for the automotive sector can easily take up to 36 months.
Using additive manufacturing technology, while offering distinct advantages, often means that pre-qualified – standard materials – cannot be processed. Similar materials will always differ slightly in terms of properties, said ViscoTec. “Laws of physics and chemistry always apply and leave no margin. Anyone who does not observe this will be in for a nasty surprise.”
The vipro-HEAD series of print heads have therefore been developed by the company to ensure that the original, standard materials can be used. In other words, if a component is to be printed from silicone, then the original silicone used to injection mould the part can be processed for this purpose, according to the company. A change in production method, for example in the case of a pre- or post-series, will therefore require no adjustment of the material.
“There is no risk that the materials will behave in any way other than the original material, which has been qualified at great expense,” the company said.
The 3D print heads are suitable for high-precision printing of one- and two-component materials and are designed to print pastes with a viscosity of up to 1,000,000 mPas, and even filled materials. “Plug and play” controlled via the signals of the 3D printer, the print heads can be easily connected to almost any 3D printer