At Fraunhofer-Center HTL components made of metal, ceramic or metal-ceramic composite materials are produced additively using an M-Flex powder printer by ExOne. In the powder-based 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 purified and reused. The printed parts are porous after the hardening. In a subsequent heat treatment step, debinding and sintering of the green parts is carried out. If needed, the components can be densified by a melt infiltration.
By combining a powder bed method with inkjet print head, 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 services for components from powder bed printing ranges from 3D CAD-based component design and construction through additive manufacturing of first plastic samples and 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 by the possibility of component-specific in-situ analysis and optimization of sintering and infiltration processes using ThermoOptical Measurement methods (see TOM).