ACEO3D, a division of global silicon manufacturer Wacker, is introducing a new service for high resolution direct 3D printing of silicone parts. The system was presented at the Rapid.Tech show in Erfurt Germany and it look very promising in terms of geometric capabilities as well.
Silicon is an amazing material for its flexibility and mechanical properties in general. It is also one of the “Eldorados” of 3D printing since there are thousands of possible applications for it. However, being a highly viscous thermoset plastic that can only be extruded pneumatically implies very low resolutions and limited geometric freedom. All that may now be in the past as the German company has come up with a specific soluble support material which makes it possible to create very intricate and complex structures entirely in silicone.
ACEO is thus introducing the world’s first real elastomer which can be 3D printed. Its silicone experts developed the material to work with specific software and hardware, opening up new opportunities for various industries such as health care, automotive, electronics or even life style goods only to name a few.
The technology is a system solution for 3D printing silicones which includes material, printer and software. The different components are optimally attuned to one another so that the highly viscous silicone can be manufactured additively. Prototypes, individual geometries, integration of functionalities or impossible designs which could not have been produced with any other technology are now available 3D printed with 100% silicone.
Silicone chemists from WACKER developed ACEO Silicones to match the specific needs of the 3D printing process enabling prototypes, small series or individualized and customized silicone products. The standard grade is available in different Shore hardness and colors. Part of the product portfolio is an environmentally friendly ACEO Support Material which allows to 3D print undercuts or overhangs and which can be washed out easily afterwards.
The ACEO Imagine printers are empowered by advanced German engineering qualities. They work with an UV-curing system where single droplets are dosed on demand and cured layer by layer. This results in excellent mechanical properties of the printed part and outstanding isotropy achieving nearly the same values as parts from injection molding. After printing, the parts can be taken out of the printer immediately as they are fully cured and no further post-processing is needed.
The ACEO Studio software is based on the very specific needs of processing a highly viscous material. It is an integral part of the printers and allows constant performance control of the print job. The selection of single parameters allows adapting the printing process to the specific geometry of the part resulting in high quality silicone products.
To find out more you can visit the company’s Open Print Lab, which is located at the ACEO Campus in Burghausen, Germany. You will be able to do test prints, compare your parts with other printing technologies and find professional support from ACEO3D’s interdisciplinary team.