Additive Manufacturing (AM) involves a series of techniques to produce objects by adding materials layer per layer. Centexbel-VKC researches the possibilites of AM or 3D printing to functionalize and to customize conventionally produced textile and plastic objects.
To enable a widespride implementation of AM processes in the textile and plastic converting industry, Centexbel-VKC is developing appriopriate filaments with customized properties, such as soft and flexible materials with conductive properties for the creation of smart textiles.
The Centexbel-VKC 3D Printing lab (in Kortrijk) is also open to the industry for rapid prototyping and R&D purposes.
The Centexbel-VKC 3D platform is composed of three 3D printers to cover three different processing procedures departing from three different types of of raw material: filaments, UV curable resins and direct granulate processing.
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) - Felix Pro 1
- synthetic filaments
The (usually) synthetic material is melted and applied onto a platform by means of a nozzle extruder. By intentionally moving the extruder and/or platform the intended shape is applied layer-by-layer thanks to the solidification of each applied layer of liquified material.
Polyjet technology - Objet24 (Stratasys)
- UV curable resin
Miniscule polymer droplets are sprayed - layer by layer - on top of the platform. Each layer is immediately cured by UV light ensuring its adhesion to the other layers and its immediate solidification. Synthetic support materials may secure the object during the process.
3D Freeformer Technology
- polymer granulates
A key feature of ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF) is that the same qualified standard granulates as used for injection molding can be used, enabling us to produce individual parts and small batches from original materials, but also to individualize mass-produced items.
The freeformer system is equipped with a material preparation unit featuring a special plasticizing screw. Plasticizing is followed by freeforming without the use of a mould: a high frequency nozzle closure discharges tiny plastic droplets, which are applied very precisely by means of a moving part carrier. This enables three-dimensional plastic parts to be built up layer-by-layer. This is even possible with multiple-component parts.