Austrian 3D printing company Cubicure expanded its machine portfolio with the Cerion production plant in a bid to completely cover the digital manufacturing process from prototyping to industrial series production. The large-scale machine provides industrial companies with an essential element needed to fully digitize their production chains by leveraging the company’s hot lithography process for the production of high-precision components. Cerion was developed by Cubicure over the past few years and is already in use with pilot customers.
A new era of additive series production
The industrial serial printing of polymer parts necessitates a radical departure from familiar concepts of lithographic additive manufacturing such as resin baths or material vats. With Cerion, Cubicure instead introduces a new printing technology featuring a mobile printing head and a revolving resin carrier film. The large-scale system’s printing concept is scalable in its physical dimensions and entails a completely novel understanding of throughput and production quality in lithographic 3D printing.
Cerion unleashes the vision of purely digital production: A few bulky or thousands of small parts are printed in the same consistently high quality. Polymer parts are printed with an optical accuracy of 50 x 50 μm2 on a platform measuring one meter by 30 centimeters and with unprecedented reproducibility. “Due to the type of processing with a traversing printing head and exceedingly precise exposure control, there is no variance in manufacturing precision distributed over the build area,” confirms Dr. Bernhard Busetti, process engineer and product manager for AM systems at Cubicure. In addition, Cerion relies on Cubicure’s proven Hot Lithography technology. This means that the new system already has access to a wide process window and a broad range of photopolymers.
“This is the essential breakthrough in the industrial upscaling of lithographic printing processes,” said Managing Director and CTO Dr. Robert Gmeiner. “In this printing process, both the material intake and the detaching of printed polymer layers from the carrier film are scalable. Many factors of the building process such as process forces are now decoupled from part geometry and building platform occupancy. Even the width and length of the printing platform no longer have an influence on process performance. After three decades of stereolithography, finally an industrially scalable process has been found.”
Now, nothing stands in the way of mass printing high-performance polymers; the next step leads into an age of toolless manufacturing. The Hot Lithography process enables the unprecedented additive manufacturing of resilient high-precision components.