Sirris, the Belgian nonprofit organization dedicated to technological innovation, and Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research, are investigating technical coatings for additive manufacturing.
Fraunhofer and Sirris note that many products made by additive manufacturing have a rough and porous surface. The post-processing of these fabricated parts can be time-consuming and often a significant cost for manufacturers, they said.
Enter technical coatings. The researchers found that a combination of lacquering and polishing is the most efficient technique. In the current project, the teams metallized the smoothed components. The metal coating fives improved scratch resistance, antimicrobial properties and many more benefits, they said.
“Today, with the transition from rapid prototyping to industrial production, the demands on AM-manufactured components are growing,” said Andreas Holländer, an expert in surface technology at Fraunhofer. “Being able to warrant consistent material quality is essential for industry producers. In addition, demands on the surface quality are growing.”
Patrick Cosemans from Sirris, said: "If we only polish our finished components, it takes a long time, and especially with fine, detailed features, we change their shape. It comes [down] to abrasion, which we want to avoid.”
The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research is in Potsdam-Golm, Germany.
Tel. 011 49 331 568-1151, https://www.iap.fraunhofer.de/de/fraunhofer-iap.html.