What is high-speed sintering? It’s a new 3D printing / additive manufacturing process developed by Prof. Neil Hopkinson, and now licensed to voxeljet from Evonik and Loughborough University. Voxeljet is a manufacturer of 3D printing systems, particularly in Powder-Binder-Jetting of plastic and sand. The High Speed Sintering (HSS) process will be available this November.
The basis for HSS compliments voxeljet’s core technology, binder jetting. This new process involves depositing a fine layer of polymeric powder, such as PA12 or TPU, after which an inkjet print head selectively deposits an infrared absorbing fluid directly onto the powder surface where sintering is desired. No further liquids are used for the printing process, which keeps consumable costs to a minimum. The build area is then illumined with infrared light, causing the printed fluid to absorb this energy and then melt and sinter (fuse) the underlying powder. This process is repeated layer by layer until the build is complete to form functional plastic parts.
Voxeljet has developed the initial technology into a highly productive and precise technology.
The HSS process lets users print parts with properties and quality similar to Selective Laser Sintering, Multi Jet Fusion or injection molding. For example, users can build fully functional prototypes such as brackets, shoe soles, and buckles. The process can also be used to build interior parts of cars and for product packaging.
HSS operates on the VX200 3d printing system. Voxeljet supplies a PA12 powder and is granting open sourcing of materials and offers a testing and approval service for new materials. Users can work with a range of 3D printable thermoplastic materials, including elastomers.
Voxeljet’s ProPrint modular software is available in a full access development-kit, which lets users program the system and add custom macros. It also features a databank for process data mining, which customers can adapt to their needs.
The High-Speed Sintering process will be officially released in November at the formnext fair in Frankfurt, Germany, taking place in November 14th-18th 2017.