Aerosint, a Belgium-based company has invented what it calls the first multi-powder SLS 3D printing technology. Multi-powder means that the technology can allow companies to 3D print parts consisting of different materials by melting powder layers composed of more than one powder.
The technology is known as “multi-powder dispensing technology”. This dispenser consists of several patterning drums which can be used for each or single powder type. These patterning drums selectively deposit fine powder voxels line-by-line resulting in a powder layer. This powder layer comprises of multiple powders that are ready for sintering.
The main essence of this dispensing technology lies in its ability to distinguish object and support powder. This makes it possible to combine multiple powders in a single 3D printing process and eliminate powder degradation that mostly occurs when the powder is used as both object as well as the support materials. This total elimination of the degradation of the support powder can allow users to save powder consumption costs. For example, since no degradation of support powder will occur, users can reuse the powder for their next printing job and can easily bring down their powder consumption costs by around 30-85% when compared with traditional laser sintering printers.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR USERS: THE ADVANTAGES
Aerosint believes that since this technology eliminates powder degradation, it will allow users to experiment with extremely expensive polymers such as PEEK. The company believes that powder degradation is preventing large-scale adoption of PEEK – a high temperature and high performance polymer best suitable for industrial applications. By allowing users to experiment with highly expensive polymers, this technology, the company believes, can become a best possible solution for factory floor as it will allow users produce more parts at relatively low material costs.
In addition to the above, the Aerosint’s multi-powder dispensing technology also offers several advantages. For example, this technology works with almost any kind of 3D printing powder. This gives an opportunity to users to use a broad range of materials such as ceramics, metals, polymers and even organic materials. In addition, the dispenser can resist temperatures of up to 400 degree Celsius of the printing chamber thereby allowing users to use and experiment with high temperature polymers such as PEEK with ease.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Aerosint is currently awaiting patent for this 3D printing technology, which the company believes has the potential to transform industrial 3D printing.