BCN3D, a leading 3D printing solutions provider, today announced the release of the Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM)™, a long-awaited new resin 3D printing technology to complement its FFF solutions. This patented new technology was created to support BCN3D’s vision of manufacturing autonomy, in which all manufacturers can have complete control over every stage of their production processes using AM solutions.
VLM technology is the result of three years of intense research and development by BCN3D’s team as a game-changing way to overcome roadblocks such as initial financial or space investments, mechanical properties that aren’t up to par, or the inability to produce large batches. It is through a new perspective of using high viscosity resins for better mechanical properties, combined with this massive leap forward in productivity and accessibility, that all demands for manufacturing autonomy are ultimately met.
“If 3D printing is to be the future of manufacturing, and what leads us towards local production, customization, control of supply chains and sustainability, all the players in the industry should be pushing in this direction. At BCN3D, we think that today is the first step in achieving this goal with the new Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM) technology. We want to show 3D printing in a new light so that it becomes the pivotal point of manufacturing.”– Xavier M. Faneca, CEO of BCN3D
Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM)™
Viscous Lithography Manufacturing is a patented lithography-based resin 3D printing technology that laminates thin layers of high viscosity resins onto a transparent transfer film, resulting in high-performance parts that can be produced quickly and affordably. VLM stands out from other resin technologies on the market because it can process resins that are 50 times more viscous than the industry standard.
The mechanical system allows the resin to be laminated from both sides of the film, allowing for strategies to reduce printing times or even the combination of different resins to create multi-material parts and support structures that are easy to remove.
Materials Development for VLM Technology
Arkema, a specialty materials company, has been a part of the process through a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) in which the two companies are working together to develop new materials that take advantage of VLM’s unique properties to achieve properties that aren’t possible with other resin-based 3D printing processes. Arkema used its decades of experience as a global key player in the 3D printing industry and a pioneer in designing high-performance photocurable resins to ensure that resins for VLM were of the highest quality.
“Thanks to the proven capability of VLM to manage high viscosity resins, we envision a great prospect to develop new building blocks and enable game-changing formulations to meet applications requirements that have not yet been reached with existing photocure technologies”– Hélène Egret, Europe 3D Market Manager at Arkema
First Tester of VLM Resin 3D Printing Technology
BCN3D also teamed up with Prodrive, a world-renowned motorsport and advanced technology company, to test its VLM technology. Prodrive were the first testers of the new technology and they’ve been putting together VLM-made end-use parts that are mounted directly on cross-country cars.
“VLM technology seemed to combine all the best features of the different Additive Manufacturing technologies, and even offer some unique advantages. For Prodrive, materials are the key to making durable end-use parts. VLM allows us to continue to use the engineering materials that we know and love, but instead in significantly finer resolution in all three directions, and the material is much more homogeneous, making the finished parts behave much more like a traditional injection molded part.”– Callum Harper, Design Engineer at Prodrive
VLM Technology Adoption Program
BCN3D has created the VLM Technology Adoption Program, which is aimed at businesses of all shapes and sizes, so that the entire industry can benefit from this breakthrough. Its new Applications Center will be run by AM experts and will house the company’s upcoming VLM-based hardware solutions. Participants will join Saint Gobain and Prodrive in being among the first to learn about the new VLM resin 3D printing technology and to see it in action with real 3D printed parts and personalised attention to their specific printing needs.
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