The additive manufacture of large-volume plastic components is a time-consuming undertaking. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU have now developed Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM), a system and process that is eight times faster than conventional 3D printing.
The system’s high-speed technology takes only 18 minutes to produce a plastic component that is 30 centimeters high. A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer IWU has developed this technology for the additive manufacture of large-volume resilient plastic components. Tool manufacturers as well as the automotive and aerospace industries benefit from the innovative 3D printer that achieves eight times the process speed.
Every hour, up to seven kilograms of plastic are pressed through the hot nozzle with a diameter of one millimeter. Comparable 3D printing processes, such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Modeling (FLM), usually achieve only 50 grams of plastic per hour. A unique feature is that, instead of expensive FLM filament, SEAM processes free-flowing, cost-effective standard plastic granulate into resilient, fiber-reinforced components that are several meters in size. This method allows material costs to be reduced by a factor of two hundred.