Wacker claims 3D printing advance with silicones
Munich, Germany – 3D printing is a technology with a great future and is increasingly being used by companies, product developers and designers to manufacture spare parts, prototypes and other items.
But the range of materials is limited and, so far, it has only been possible to print plastics and metals.
Munich-based chemical group Wacker, however, now claims to have developed a method that also allows silicone articles to be produced by 3D printing.
A robot deposits tiny droplets from a nozzle side by side, to build up the article layer by layer. Then the silicone is vulcanised with UV light. The homogeneous objects that are produced have virtually smooth surfaces.
The material, said Wacker, is biocompatible, heat resistant and transparent – opening up new industrial applications in automotive manufacturing, medical technology, household appliances, and optics.