Additive manufacturing for industry
Benefit from Murtfeldt’s 3D printing service!
Additive manufacturing, which is also known under the collective term "3D printing", now represents a whole set of additive manufacturing technologies that work in accordance with various principles and are each suitable only for extremely specific materials. Their common denominator: During 3D printing, a three-dimensional object is created through the layering of material.
The benefits of industrial 3D printing do not lie only in the production of cost-effective components and prototypes, fast availability, and low planning costs; in addition, the material efficiency of additive manufacturing is significantly higher in comparison with machining processes. Furthermore, extremely complex components with interior hollows, ducts, and varying wall thicknesses can be produced, since the components basically consist of stacked 2D layers.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) involves sintering powdered plastic to create a solid component. To do this, the plastic powder is applied in layers in the construction space and is then heated by a laser in the relevant places. Similarly to in a CT scan, the component is created from lots of individual layers sintered on top of each other.
SLS production enables practically any geometry. Polyamide 12 is currently the powdered source material for SLS. Thanks to the use of a laser, SLS parts are more precise than those created using FLM production, and anisotropy does not apply. SLS components are characterized by their rough surface, which is due to the powder grain size. In addition, components produced using SLS are ideally suited to various kinds of fi nishing.
The procedure known as fused layer modelling or fused layer manufacturing (FLM) is one of the best known additive manufacturing methods. The FLM procedure uses a computer-controlled print head to construct parts in layers from the bottom up. The source material for the process is fi lament of extruded plastic that the machine selectively fuses for each cross section of the desired part and applies layer by layer. Thanks to the precise control and regulation of the process, this enables the production of even complex (and sometimes hollow) components.
Support material is sometimes required here in order to bridge undercuts and overhangs. Because the fi lament does not become completely liquefi ed, the layer structure of the component can be seen. In addition, the component might behave diff erently in the direction of construction than within the layers, so even very fi ne structures might not be printable as a result. Moreover, it is sometimes diffi cult to achieve really narrow tolerances with this method.
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