Liquid Additive Manufacturing (LAM) is an Additive Manufacturing technology for constructing objects from liquid material, such as Liquid Silicon Rubber silicone (LSR). The technical characteristics of LAM printed parts are almost identical to conventional injection processes. One of the main advantages is the speed of the process. The silicone is extruded through a head and then thermally polymerized with a halogen lamp to allow for a resistant and functional assembly. The technology makes it possible to print objects with complex shapes sometimes impossible to do with conventional processes (lattice structure, honeycomb …). This technology allows object printing without post-processing step (post-process curing for exemple). The printed object is functional directly after printing.
The printing build platform is adjusted automatically while the nozzle has a sensitive photo sensor allowing its adjustment. A monitoring system controls the hardening and printing process. In the event of a malfunction, the operator is notified and printing is automatically stopped.
Since DOW’s SILASTIC ™ 3D 3335 materials are already commonly used in liquid silicone injection by many manufacturers, there is no need to requalify these materials. This LSR silicone is thermally polymerized and not by UV or by the use of a crosslinking agent. This brings better mechanical properties and better UV resistance in particular. The printer has an open system of materials but InnovatiQ recommends the use of the wide range of silicone from DOW or COP. Polyurethane (PU) is also one of the materials usually printed with this process. Other materials could also be used: epoxy resins, adhesives, waxes and inks.
Silicone printing can be widely used in many areas: Automotive, aerospace, medicine, electronics, food, prototyping, research, textile and shoe soles, tooling and mold manufacturing…. In particular, silicone is used to protect electronic components from temperature, humidity, corrosion and dust.