At Fraunhofer-Center HTL, components made of metal, ceramic or metal-ceramic composite materials are produced additively by the powder bed method using an M-Flex powder printer by ExOne. In the 3D printing process called "Binder Jetting", the components are generated in layers by selective printing of a liquid organic binder to a powder bed. The components are then hardened in a furnace. Unbound powder is removed, which can be cleaned and reused. The printed parts are porous after the hardening. In a final heat treatment process, the components are subsequently debindered and sintered. Compaction can also be undertaken via melt infiltration, which enables new material combinations.
By combining a powder bed method with inkjet printing (binder-jetting process), various binder liquids and various infiltration materials, it is possible to additively manufacture complex prototypes and small batches in an enormous range of materials, from metals to ceramics and metal-ceramic composites.
At Fraunhofer-Center HTL, the scope of offers for components from powder bed printing ranges from 3D CAD-based component design and construction over additive manufacturing of first plastic samples, feasibility studies for 3D printing of individual materials up to the additive manufacturing of metal, ceramic, or metal-ceramic composite components. The scope is completed at Fraunhofer-Center HTL by the possibility of component-specific in-situ analysis and optimization of sintering and infiltration processes using ThermoOptical Measurement methods (TOM).