3D printing in the silicone industry
Rapid Prototyping at Siltec enables fast product development for diverse silicone products, also with complex geometries. For the creation of product tools (Rapid Tooling) or parts of silicone prototypes, various methods of production are used, among other things 3D printing.
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Different 3D-printing processes
At the moment there are different processes available for the creation of 3D-printed components
- FDM (“Fused Deposition Modeling”) is a process in which the component is printed in layers out of melted plastics or silicone.
- Selective Laser sintering (SLS) is an additive method of production. For this method, a laser sinters structures out of a starting substance.
- In addition, stereo lithography (SLA) is another additive method of production. Components are produced layer by layer based on non-attached grid points.
- Last but not least, inkjet technologies build silicone components drop by drop.
Advantages of 3D printing in the silicone industry
3D-priting comes with crucial advantages. Complex geometries which are hard to realize with other methods of production can be easily produced. Complex undercuts, re-entrant angles, hollow spaces and drilled holes that change directions can be realized in the geometry of the silicone product.
Additionally, 3D printing can drastically reduce production time due to the fact that you can produce a prototype without a tool.
Also in the area of Rapid Prototyping, 3D-printing adds additional value: Geometries can easily be changed digitally via a CAD-Software and the resulting tool is quickly printed again. Therefore, the time required for prototyping of silicone products as well as the cost and risk are significantly reduced.
3D printing can be integrated in the production of nearly all our silicone products, no matter if it is in the area of tool design and construction or for the creation of the entire product. These product types include:
- molded components out of silicone
- silicone sealings
- silicone O-rings
- assembled or refined silicone products