German chemical group WACKER and its 3D printing division ACEO have unveiled electrically conductive silicone rubber materials for 3D printing applications. The materials, announced at Formnext 2018, were developed to the meet the market need for electrically conductive elastomers with high-temperature resistance.
While silicones are widely used across a range of industries and applications (such as actuators, sensors, generators and printed electronics), they have still been relatively limited within the context of additive manufacturing. WACKER’s ACEO team has been at the forefront of 3D printable silicone development, as the company even announced it would be opening the first silicone rubber 3D printing facility this year.
Being able to 3D print silicone rubber for the aforementioned applications could offer a number of advantages, including manufacturing devices in a single process and creating electronics with complex structures and geometries. ACEO’s new electrically conductive silicone rubber could open up these possibilities to the market.
“3D printing with the new electrically conductive ACEO Silicone enables new-to-the-world applications that could not be implemented until now, especially in modern medical or functional automotive parts,” said Bernd Pachaly, head of the ACEO 3D printing project at WACKER. “We added this new silicone option to our portfolio specifically to address unmet needs and to go beyond conventional solutions.”
The new silicone rubber material unveiled at Formnext boasts a range of beneficial properties, including high temperature resistance of up to 200°C and unchanged conductivity levels up to 25% elongation.
In addition to announcing the new 3D printing material, ACEO also presented an early application for the silicone rubber in collaboration with CINOGY, a company specializing in cold-plasma technology in medical applications such as wound care.
Egbert Klaassen, Global Marketing Director at ACEO, elaborated: “We are delighted to showcase a first application of 3D printed, electrically conductive silicone elastomers at Formnext in Frankfurt. This is the result of a cooperation between ACEO and CINOGY…The biocompatible silicone which provides the electrically conductive areas of the PlasmaDerm therapy device is printed by ACEO. WACKER and CINOGY have been working together in the past but this new 3D technology allowed CINOGY to further advance their application.”
CINOGY is a leader in plasma medicine and is best known in the medical industry for its PlasmaDerm medical devices for clinical practice. The products, which meet quality requirements and have been certified, are driving ahead the field of wound dressing and care.
“This is no standard wound care dressing but a silicone-plasma dressing that can be cut to size to accommodate different wound sizes,” explained Dirk Wandke, Managing Director of CINOGY. “This is the latest innovation of CINOGY’s PlasmaDerm wound care portfolio based on cold plasma technology. We are excited to have partnered with WACKER’s ACEO team to further develop this innovative product and plan to use this technology for more applications for different indications.
At Formnext this week, ACEO will be showcasing its 3D printed silicones at booth A89 in Hall 3.1.
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