Run by Professor Marinella Levi at the Milano Politecnico University, the +LAB is among the world’s pre-eminent laboratories researching new materials for 3D printing and in particular fiber composite 3D printing. Their work has just received the JEC Innovation Award, a prestigious recognition for excellence in composite innovation.
The main focus of the extensive research conducted in recent months has been the ATROPOS system – a Kuka robotic arm capable of depositing and additively manufacturing 3D structures using continuous fiber composite materials – and the recently launched 3Dprintingcomposites.xyz portal.The research on continuous fiber composites is based on a patented additive manufacturing technology named “Continuous Fiber Composites Smart Manufacturing”, able to process continuous fiber in order to build products requiring lightweight and very high performances such as boats, aeronautical components or automotive parts.
The focus of the project is to create a 3D printing system able to process composites material with a thermosetting matrix for all the sectors and application fields that require high performance, complex shape and extreme personalization. The lines of research focuses on the development of manufacturing technologies and smart slicing technique in order to 3D print short and continuous fiber composites materials with a precise control on shape, fiber density and orientation.
3D printing composites is a branch of +LAB, the first additive manufacturing laboratory of “Politecnico di Milano” University, located in the Chemistry and Material Engineering Department “Giulio Natta”. The line of research on short fiber composites and nanocomposites material is an evolution of the “Liquid Deposition Modeling” system; this technology enables 3D printing of material in the liquid state at room temperature using an extruder head and a polymerization apparatus.
The +LAB team formulate Acrylic, Epoxy and Polyester thermosetting resins loaded with short fibers to obtain an extremely fast curing time to produce three dimensional objects even in a free-form setting. They are working on system optimization in order to create smart structures in which the process and the material anisotropy is designed to be the optimized building solution.
The focus of the project is to create a 3D printing system able to process composites material with a thermosetting matrix for all the sectors and application fields that require high performance, complex shape and extreme personalization. 3D Printing Media Network had the opportunity to visit the +LAB and ATROPOS project recently, below you can view a photogallery from our exclusive tour.
The JEC Award
Over the 15 years, the JEC Innovation Program has involved 1,800 companies worldwide. 177 companies and 433 partners have been rewarded for the excellence of their composite innovations. Created in 1998, the goals of this top-level innovation program are to identify, promote, and reward the most innovative composite solutions worldwide; encourage companies that are involved in composite innovation along with their partners, and also enhance their public exposure and contribute to the advancement of the composite industry. There are multiple benefits for the innovations that are chosen. JEC Composites’ comprehensive communication plan includes press releases, magazine articles and website content on the program and its entries. JEC Composites networks with 1,200 trade magazines worldwide.