Production redefined

Dosing systems for liquid 3D printing

The world’s leading digital manufacturing company, Carbon® has cracked the code on delivering the promise of 3D printing as a real manufacturing tool. Using Carbon® Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS™) technology, companies are using the Carbon® Digital Manufacturing Platform to produce innovative applications ranging from protective sports gear to automotive components and dental models. With the adoption of additive technologies to digitally manufacture parts, there is a growing demand for precise material dispensing solutions that can scale with quality and cost.

Good cushioning, a high degree of flexibility, a custom design – the sports industry of today is undeniably a highly advanced one, where athletes expect to rely on customised equipment that offers the highest amount of protection so they can perform their best. Traditional approaches to manufacturing are limited. That is why 3D printing has come to play an increasingly important role in product innovation across a range of industries. For example, the healthcare industry uses 3D printing to manufacture custom and durable dental implants. The automotive industry incor- porates additive technology to produce more and more of its components. So, for example, complex assemblies are being replaced with a single, printed component, while the technology has also opened the door for unique interior designs. 3D printing has been around for three decades, but only recently has it begun delivering on its promise as a real manufacturing tool. After decades of trying to define its relevance in manufacturing, 3D printing can now truly scale part production with quality and cost. That’s what Carbon®, a US-based company from Silicon Valley, is doing with its Digital Manufacturing Platform. Parts produced on the Carbon® Platform using their patented dual-cure materials are mechanically comparable to injection molded parts made from unfilled thermoplastics.

The DLS™ Technology

The driving force behind Carbon® Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS™) technology is its layerless CLIP technology, which transforms 3D models into physical objects rapidly. The photochemical process balances light and oxygen to produce parts by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable window into a reservoir of ultraviolet (UV)-curable resin. As the technology projects a UV image sequence, the part solidifies, and the building platform rises. CLIP continuously grows objects from a resin pool at speeds 25-100 times faster than traditional 3D printing. Similar to injection-molding parts, CLIP produces consistent and predictable mechanical properties. Carbon‘s patented „dual-cure“ approach to resins uses both light-activated and heat-activated chemistries. Many of Carbon’s dual-cure materials rely on precisely mixing two part resins in the right ratio to achieve optimal properties. Though this is relatively straight forward at small scales, it is more challenging at the production level. The challenge is supplying the 3D printer with the correct ratio and amount of material continuously and reproducibly.

A material supply system fit for the task

The metering and mixing system DOPAG eldomix has been selected by Carbon® to take on this simple, yet at the same time complex task. Eldomix fills material reservoirs with two-component material based on polyurethane, silicone, epoxy or acrylic resin, either manually or automatically. It uses gear metering pumps driven by three-phase asynchro- nous motors, a static-dynamic mixing system and a valve with a separate material supply. As a result, the eldomix meters and mixes Carbon’s unique dual-cure materials with utmost accuracy, repeatability and high quality. It is an ideal way to achieve optimal results and produce perfect and durable components. As far as series production is concerned, reproducibility and reliability are the very pillars of the whole concept.