Chromatic 3D Materials, a 3D printing technology provider focused on industrial-strength elastomeric products, has developed what the company refers to as ‘Smooth-Mode’ technology for the 3D printing of durable rubber parts with ultra-smooth surfaces, at commercial volumes. Now, industrial manufacturers can 3D print smooth, high-quality polyurethane parts, such as seals, gaskets, grommets, bladders, and other elastomeric products, with no post-processing or surface finishing.
“Sealing requires a smooth surface, but 3D printed parts have always had layer lines or roughness. We have developed a way to easily and cost-effectively 3D print products that are ultra-smooth without additional steps. It’s a breakthrough for 3D printing those professional applications that must be airtight and watertight,” said Dr. Cora Leibig, Founder and CEO of Chromatic.
Parts printed with Smooth-Mode technology have superior aesthetics as well as finer dimensional accuracy, compared to parts printed with other technologies. For example, products can be printed with precise uniform thickness at a submillimeter scale. Thus, the new technology is suitable for manufacturing rubber bladders and other elastomeric products that expand and contract.
Chromatic’s team of additive manufacturing experts first achieved ultra-smooth prints by fine-tuning the viscosity and surface tension of the company’s printable thermoset polyurethane materials. “We developed a way to go beyond simply applying our reaction technology to FDM printing. Smooth-Mode uses chemistry to create an ultra-bonded and smooth part. We believe this printing technique delivers the world’s smoothest printing along the Z, or height, axis,” explained Dr. Bart Engendahl, Managing Director of Chromatic in Germany.
Industrial manufacturers can take advantage of Smooth-Mode with Chromatic’s RX-AMTM materials and technology platform. A 3-in-1 platform, RX-AMTM includes materials, software, and hardware for deposition printing with reactive chemistry. RX-AMTM, or Reactive Extrusion Additive Manufacturing, uses printable polyurethanes with Shore A hardness ranging from 50 to 90 as well as custom grades with varying colors, hardnesses, and special properties (e.g. antibacterial, static discharge, biocides, etcetera). The platform is designed for printing commercial volumes.