Additive Manufacturing

3D printing is considered to be one of the most promising production methods of the future. Translated into industrial manufacturing, it is referred to as additive manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing opens up a new world of production. In particular, the high degree of freedom in shaping represents a major advantage of 3D printing. This makes it possible to manufacture products quickly and customized.

Potential areas of application:

Manufacturing processes:

More about the individual processes:

Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography is considered to be the oldest 3D printing process and is still the most popular method for producing detailed prototypes.

This technology uses a UV laser to cure solid isotropic parts from a liquid photopolymer resin. The procedure is done layer by layer in a resin bath: to do this, the machine lowers the build platform by one layer thickness in the resin bath - the surface is wetted and exposed. The process is repeated until the part is finished.

SLA enables the production of parts with good surface finish and fine details. Parts with complex structures can be produced easily, cost-effectively, quickly and with suitable quality using 3D printing.

A wide range of materials enables specific characteristics - from materials with high form stability, to bendable and compressible materials, a wide range of plastics is available.

Fields of application:

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

The so-called Fused Deposition Modeling process uses standard thermoplastics such as ABS and polylactide (PLA), as well as their mixed forms. The plastic filaments are heated through extruder nozzles until they reach an almost liquid aggregate state. The extruder then applies the fine, toothy filaments in individual model layers to the work platform. These solidify during the cooling process.

The fusible layer process is characterized in particular by speed and cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, the components are extremely robust against thermal, chemical and mechanical influences. In addition, it is possible to interrupt the manufacturing process in a targeted manner in order to incorporate other materials.

Areas of application:

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

In the SLS process, selective areas of a powder bed are fused (sintered) by laser energy. A new layer of plastic powder is then applied and the process is repeated. Usually the thermoplastics nylon 11 and nylon 12 are used. Nylon is particularly characterized by its lightweight, flexible and robust properties, and also exhibits resistance to impact, chemicals, heat, UV light, water and dirt.

Unlike other additive manufacturing technologies, the SLS process does not require support structures. The part is supported by the non-sintered powder during printing.

The Selective Laser Sintering process enables the realization of impossible geometries, such as interlocking or moving parts, as well as designs that would normally require multiple parts.

Application areas:

Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

Selective laser melting is very similar to the selective laser sintering process. The main difference, however, is that SLM is used exclusively for the production of metal. Accordingly, Selective Laser Melting works with metal powders such as stainless steel, tool steel, aluminum, cobalt-chromium, copper or titanium. These metals are characterized by material density and high mechanical stability.

The SLM process enables largely defect-free components with a pore- and crack-free structure and a high density.

Areas of application: