Development of 3D printing processes using the binder jetting process

hardened Component powder 3d Printer binder jetting
© Fraunhofer-Zentrum HTL
Das gehärtete Bauteil wird von nicht bedrucktem Pulver befreit
Metal Ceramic 3D Print binder jetting powder bed
Bauteile aus Metall-Keramik

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).

Technical data M-Flex

Lateral resolution:                     64 μm

Layer thickness:                        100 μm (corresponding vertical resolution)

Construction speed (X, Y, Z):    400 mm x 250 mm x 250 mm

Building speed:                         3 - 12 mm per hour in accordance with 300 to 1200 cc per hour

Available materials

  • Martensitic stainless steel 420 (optional infiltration with bronze)
  • Austenitic stainless steel 316 (optional infiltration with bronze)
  • Nickel based superalloys Inconel 625 and 718
  • Tungsten carbide (optional infiltration with cobalt or nickel)
  • Silicon carbide (optional infiltration with silicon)
  • Further metal (tungsten, titanium, aluminum etc.) and ceramic (alumina, titanium carbide etc.) materials on request

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Additive Manufacturing and Digital Production