When last we reported on ViscoTec, they’d begun transitioning some of their traditional expertise and processes over to the area of 3D printing, which was more logical a move for them than just about anyone else, as the German company has been specializing in pump and dose technology for many years. Now, they are putting a name on what they are doing: fluid dosing and deposition (FDD).
Extremely fast, and just as accurate, FDD is meant for those who are interested in 3D printing with viscous liquids–mainly pastes. Think silicone. Think adhesives. Think versatility. Using their experience in the industry of dispensing and pumping for a range of customers in areas like cosmetics, plastics, medical, automotive, aerospace, and more, ViscoTec is able to adapt to 3D printing easily and dare we say–fluidly. Their printheads operate on basically the same principle as their pump and dose technology, with ‘the endless piston principle.’
Founded in the 1980s, ViscoTec isn’t yet making 3D printers but they are making printheads which are easily integrated with other 3D printers and allow them to go from all the basic elements of 3D printing to also being able to manufacture with low- to high-viscosity liquid or paste. They’ve just released the FDD Starter Kit which will allow other companies to integrate the ViscoTec printheads easily. It includes the choice of different printheads depending on materials and project scope, a controlling unit, as well as needles and cartridges.
Being able to 3D print in silicone is a motivating factor for numerous businesses and manufacturers who may want to use the material for replacing injection molded parts.
“The application area of the FDD printhead ‘made in Germany’ is very diverse,” states the ViscoTec team, pointing out that the use of only one printhead for a range of fluid and paste in 3D printing would not be realistic.
The team has used their 3D printing equipment with epoxy resin to finish a very successful project for a client manufacturing life-size figures in amusement parks. With 3D models reaching 2 x 2 x 2 meters, they were able to achieve great precision using a bead size of 10mm, curing with UV light. Products are able to be 3D printed at speeds of up to .5 grams per minute.
Looking at a niche in the 3D bioprinting sector, ViscoTec has also seen beginning success with 3D printing organic tissue, encouraged by the fact that molecular chains are not destroyed during 3D printing. This is an area of 3D printing still being pioneered so it will be of great interest to all to see how they progress further there too.
As other manufacturers begin to grasp onto this new volumetric system that can transform any other existing printer with easy integration, we are optimistic regarding what the future holds for going to the next level in 3D printing via ViscoTec.
Discuss your thoughts on how this company has morphed their pump and dose technology and expertise into the area of 3D printing. What specific areas do you think this will have impact on? Share in the ViscoTec and 3D Printing in Viscous Liquids forum thread over at 3DPB.com. Check out some videos below demonstrating ViscoTec’s technology.