Additive Manufacturing New machines and systems for 3D components made of metal, plastic and ceramics

Editor: Alexander Stark

AIM3D, manufacturer of multi-material 3D printers, is currently developing larger granulate 3D printers in order to be able to reproduce larger installation spaces and even higher construction speeds. The product launch is planned for Formnext 2021 in Frankfurt.

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CEM-E2 extruder for the 3D CEM process: Higher building speeds and improved component quality.
CEM-E2 extruder for the 3D CEM process: Higher building speeds and improved component quality.
(Source: AIM3D)

The CEM-E2 extruder with its pressure heads is matched to material groups. With a pressure head version "M" (Metals), the extruder was designed for metal-filled materials (MIM granulate). The "P" (Plastics) pressure head is used for unfilled and filled plastics. The "C" (Ceramics) printhead was developed for ceramic-filled materials (CIM granulate) with higher abrasion. The new extruder/printheads are characterised by improved feeding accuracy. This enables a higher surface quality and better mechanical properties of the component. The extrusion speed could be increased by more than 200%, so that now up to 220cm³/h construction rate is possible with a 0.4mm nozzle.

The CEM technology enables the cross-material use of an additive manufacturing system. In addition, filaments can often be dispensed with and conventional granulates can be used, which offers considerable cost advantages. However, it is also essential to reduce the build-up time of a component if the granulates can be used directly.

The new CEM-E2 extruder has already been used to develop a component in PPS GF 40 for Schaeffler. A polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) from Celanese was used. In addition to good basic properties such as high flame retardancy, the type offers a large number of adjustment screws to tailor properties such as conductivity, thermal expansion or friction behaviour. The development partnership between AIM3D and Schaeffler set the task of developing a coolant distribution nozzle as a 3D component. The CEM-E2 extruder could also print the identical PPS and, as in injection moulding, PPS GF 40 was chosen for 3D printing. Usually the alternative for 3D printing would have been a PA6 30GF (polyamide), as there is no PPS with glass fibre as filament or powder for 3D printing. The material PPS allows higher temperature properties, with improved mechanical properties, as well as lightweight potential. Another decisive factor is the extremely high media resistance, as PPS hardly absorbs any water.