Processes

Additive manufacturing

3D printing is on everyone's lips and is making its way into everyday private and industrial life at a breathtaking speed. The entirely new shaping possibilities are currently revolutionizing production processes. SKZ has taken this into account and expanded its research and training offerings within a competence center for 3D printing processes, the Center for Additive Production (CAP) in Würzburg. At the same time, the transfer of know-how to the companies must keep pace with the rapid technical development. Among other things, new training courses have been designed for this purpose. This provides a central, competent and independent point of contact for industrial companies regarding all established 3D printing processes, material development, possible quality assurance measures and employee training. The race for the profitable use of additive manufacturing technologies for series products is evident globally, and Europe can and must fight vigorously and sustainably for a pioneering role. The well connected CAP forms a central flagship for this.


Our Center for Additive Production provides support for

  • Application-oriented research and development

  • Safeguarding qualitative properties

  • Cost reduction through process and material optimization

  • Development of new materials with optimized properties

  • Application-oriented process consulting

  • Training of employees

Dipl.-Ing. Georg Schwalme
Head of Department Injection Moulding and Additive Manufacturing
+49 931 4104-372
g.schwalme@skz.de

Services

Design for additive manufacturing – Construction consulting

Although additive manufacturing processes have a high degree of freedom in terms of complexity and design, there are – as with other manufacturing processes – production-related restrictions. To ensure that you obtain the desired/required result reliably, we support you in the design of your components, from the idea to the finished part.

Contact:
Kevin Popp | +49 931 4104-643 | k.popp@skz.de

Material development

In the state-of-the-art SKZ Technical Center, research is conducted in the development of new materials for the powder-based laser sintering, filament processing techniques such as Fused Layer Modeling (FDM) and the granulate process ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF). In research and development, our skills cover the whole process chain: Starting off with the compounding of the raw materials and bringing them into the desired shape for the relevant AM process, our open 3D printers allow us to find the right parameters for the processing of your material. Various compounders and filament extruders, a laboratory mill and numerous particle measuring devices for powder characterization as well as all testing machines for subsequent component characterization (mechanical, thermal, application-specific properties) are available.

Contact:
Patrick Limbach
+49 931 4104-473 | p.limbach@skz.de

Specimen production

The production of test specimens according to various standards and special test specimens is part of our numerous customer and R&D activities. Furthermore, we offer the production of specimens designed specifically for the customer and their application.

Possible test specimens

  • Specimens for tensile, bending, impact tests
  • Puncture test specimens
  • Fire test specimens
  • Multi-material test specimens
  • Test specimens for assessing colorability
  • Test specimens for the overmolding of inserts
  • Plates with different dimensions, thicknesses and surfaces
  • Individual test specimens or plates

Contact:
Irena Heuzeroth | +49 931 4104-658 | i.heuzeroth@skz.de

Process analysis

Our team consists of experienced engineers and technicians. During an on-site consultation, we can support you in the analysis and optimization of your process. If required, we can also record almost every process-relevant parameter as well as quality-affecting factors in our consultation.

Contact:
Manfred Popp 
+49 931 4104-200 | m.popp@skz.de

Welding · Bonding

Joining additively manufactured components with products from other manufacturing processes, such as injection molding, expands their range of applications. This allows the respective advantages to be used in a targeted and profitable manner. 

Welding
The welding behavior of 3D-printed components has already been successfully demonstrated at SKZ using ultrasonic and hot plate welding. We would be happy to advise you in this regard for your manufacturing processes.

Bonding 
Adhesive bonding has great advantages over other joining processes due to the possibility of joining hybrid joints (metal-plastic) and avoiding stress peaks as in mechanical joining (screws, rivets) by means of two-dimensional force transmission. In adhesive bonding, the components are not subjected to thermal stress and the process is dimensionally independent. However, established pretreatment and bonding processes are not readily transferable to additively manufactured plastic components because the different manufacturing process means that component characteristics relevant to a subsequent bonding process differ from those of conventionally manufactured components.


Contact:
Dr. Eduard Kraus | +49 931 4104-480 | e.kraus@skz.de

To the section bonding

Filament production

For the production of 3D printing filaments, two wire extrusion lines with temperature-controlled water cooling section, as well as a desktop system for quick tests, are available at SKZ. The filament diameter and ovality are monitored online by means of a three-axis laser measuring scope.

Contact:
Patrick Limbach | +49 931 4104-473 | p.limbach@skz.de

Material samples

Evaluation of filament behavior during printing with respect to: maximum mass throughput, geometric fidelity, shrinkage, warpage and residual stresses, layer adhesion, behavior at overhangs, ability to bridge gaps, adhesion to the build platform.

Contact:
Manfred Popp | +49 931 4104-200 | m.popp@skz.de

Production of samples and prototypes

We offer the production of samples and prototypes on our commercial printers and our own constructions. Different printing processes with corresponding advantages and disadvantages regarding the achievable properties (strength, stiffness, elongation at break, surface roughness, service temperature, UV resistance, transparency, etc.) of the components can be used.

Contact:
Kevin Popp | +49 931 4104-643 | k.popp@skz.de

Non-destructive testing - Process monitoring

Would you like to obtain information about your additively manufactured components that is not visible to the naked eye? SKZ offers the integration and, if necessary, individual adaptation of non-destructive testing methods for monitoring printing processes and assessing the final component quality. In this way, you can, for example, detect defects such as a lack of layer adhesion or geometry changes due to warpage at an early stage. 

For this purpose, SKZ offers a cost-neutral assessment of your testing task and enables comparative tests on your components to identify the most suitable process, taking into account technical and economic aspects.

Contact:
Giovanni Schober | +49 931 4104-464 | g.schober@skz.de

To the section measurement technology

Training and networking

As experts in the field of plastics technology, we strive to pass on the knowledge we have acquired over decades to our customers. From material development and manufacturing processes to the application of various testing and measuring methods - in our numerous practice-oriented training courses, you as a participant will acquire the necessary knowledge in dealing with plastics as a material. This begins with the selection of the right materials and compliance with production-oriented design rules, continues with the correct handling of equipment and machines for the manufacture and processing of plastic components and ends with the correct understanding of quality criteria and the associated use of testing and measuring tools.
Bringing together people from different areas of the company as well as from different industries to exchange experiences and technical know-how is also a top priority for us, in addition to the pure transfer of knowledge. Our numerous specialist events provide the ideal venue for a free exchange of ideas. Renowned speakers from a wide range of industries and excellent technical presentations make the SKZ conferences popular meeting places within the plastics industry.

To the section training

Technical equipment

Extrusion based processes

FLM: Fused Layer Modeling

Fused Layer Modeling (FFF) is an additive process in which a supplied plastic wire (filament) is melted in a nozzle head. The emerging thin strand of melt is then used to build up the contour and filling of the desired geometry layer by layer. By using a removable support material in the area of overhangs, complex geometries with cavities, internal structures and large wall thickness variations are also possible.

The process is characterized by the following advantages:

  • Very wide range of materials possible
  • Multi-component parts possible
  • Simple production of partially filled internal structures for lightweight construction
  • Low-cost plant technology

TripleF
SKZ custom-built - max. build volume: 450 x 300 x 320 mm,
max. 3 print heads, max. nozzle temperature: 395 °C,
heatable build platform up to approx. 220 °C, heatable build area up to approx. 220 °C

TripleF mini
SKZ custom-built - max. build volume: 300 x 200 x 260 mm,
double print head for 2 filaments, max. nozzle temperature 395 °C,
heatable build platform up to 150 °C, heatable build space up to 85 °C

TripleF solid
SKZ custom-built - max. build volume 200 x 200 x 340 mm, single printhead,
max. nozzle temperature 290 °C, heatable build platform up to 150 °C

Prusa i3 MK2 and MK3
Prusa Research - max. build volume 250 x 210 x 210 mm,
single print head, additional extension to 4K printing available,
max. nozzle temperature 290 °C, heatable build platform up to 120 °C

FLM Ultimaker
original@SKZ conversion - max. build volume 178 x 158 x 145 mm,
single printhead, additional printhead for higher throughputs,
max. nozzle temperature 290 °C, heatable build platform up to 150 °C,
passive build platform heating via platform; active heating via external blower also possible up to approx. 70 °C
 

Contact:
Anne Gruska | +49 931 4104-378 | a.gruska@skz.de 
Manfred Popp | +49 931 4104-200 | m.popp@skz.de 

CFF: Continuous Filament Fabrication

The CFF process is basically based on the principle of the FLM process. The print head has two different nozzles. One nozzle deposits the melted filament as an "outer shell" as well as the inner matrix. The second nozzle is used to incorporate reinforcing fibers (possible fiber types: carbon, Kevlar, glass fibers). The fibers wetted with plastic are heated by the nozzle and applied to the previous layer. Shortly before reaching the end of the web, the integrated cutting unit cuts off the fiber. For stiff and strong components, not only the fibers but also the filling strategy can be decisive.

The process is characterized by the following advantages:

  • resinless system
  • Continuous fibers can be processed

MarkTwo Markforged
Printing of continuous fibers, max. build volume 320 x 132 x 154 mm


Freeformer: APF (ARBURG Plastic Freeforming)

The ARBURG Plastic Freeforming is a new additive manufacturing process and was first presented by the family-owned company ARBURG GmbH + Co KG at the K trade fair in 2013. The Freeformer processes standard pellets which get plasticized by a screw with three individual heating zones comparable to the IM process, and produces parts by building up tiny, contiguous droplets layer by layer. The discharge units, two nozzle shutters timed with piezo technology, remain stationary while the component carrier moves.


AKF (Arburg)
Build temperature: 50-120 °C; mass processing temperature: max. 350 °C,
maximum part size 1-component (x, y, z): 189 x 134 x 230 mm, maximum part size 2-component (x, y, z): 154 x 134 x 230 mm

3Devo
Processing temperatures up to 450 °C, throughput: up to 1 kg/h,
Extruder screw replaceable and nitride cured for abrasive materials, mixing zone for addition of additives.

Contact:
Irena Heuzeroth | +49 931 4104-658 | i.heuzeroth@skz.de

TripleF

TripleF mini

TripleF solid

Powder-based processes

Laser sintering (LS) technology, which has been used for the production of prototypes for many years, is increasingly finding its way into the industrial production of individual parts and small series. Innovative components such as removal grippers or prostheses can be implemented with a high degree of functional integration thanks to the many design degrees of freedom.

The process is characterized by the following advantages:

  • No support structures necessary
  • Very low anisotropy of the properties depending on the direction of construction
  • High detail resolution
  • Relatively fast manufacturing process

SLS Formiga P110
EOS GmbH - no support structures necessary, max. build volume 200 x 250 x 330 mm, laser type CO2, 30 W

Contact:
Kevin Popp | +49 931 4104-643 | k.popp@skz.de

Resin-based processes

DLP: Digital Light Processing 

The DLP process (Digital Light Processing) is an additive process that uses a special resin (photopolymer) that cures under UV light. In contrast to the SLA process, exposure is by means of a DLP projector.

The process is characterized by the following advantages:

  • Prints with very high, detailed resolution.
  • Faster printing compared to SLA, since a layer is exposed and cross-linked as a whole
  • Complex structures possible
  • Transparent components possible

Digital Light Processing: Perfactory 3 DSP
max. build space of 140 x 105 x 230 mm, liquid plastic (photopolymer) exposed with UV via a DLP projector


PJM: Polyjet 
In the Polyjet process, also known as Poly-Jet Modeling (PJM), the components are built up layer by layer with a layer height of 16 µm or 30 µm, resulting in a smooth surface. Acrylic resins are used here as starting materials. Curing takes place by means of UV light.

The process is characterized by the following advantages:

  • High resolution (16 µm layer thickness)
  • Precise models with very high surface quality can be produced
  • Wall thicknesses of up to 0.6 mm can be imaged
  • Materials available in different colors (also transparent) and degrees of hardness
  • Biocompatible material available
  • Water soluble support material
  • Easy handling and operation due to closed resin cartridges

Polyjet: Eden350 Objet
Max. usable construction volume 340 x 340 x 200 mm, water-soluble support material
 

Contact:
Adrian Beetz | +49 931 4104-642 | a.beetz@skz.de 

SLA: Stereolithography 

SLA (stereolithography) technology is considered the first 3D printing process. Using a UV laser, the special resin (photopolymer) is cured layer by layer. All workpieces created with stereolithography undergo several finishing steps after successful printing: Intensive cleaning of the workpiece, removal of support structures, post-curing under UV light, mechanical post-treatment if necessary (grinding, blasting).

The process is characterized by the following advantages:

  • Prints with high, detailed resolution 
  • Complex structures possible
  • Transparent components possible
  • No rectangular voxels as with DLP due to point laser, thus smooth edges are possible as well as no gradations in the vertical visible

Low Force Stereolithography: Formlabs Form 3
max. space of 145 x 145 x 185 mm, liquid plastic (photopolymer) exposed with a UV laser

Masked Stereolithography: Anycubic Photon S
max. build envelope of 115 x 65 x 165 mm, liquid plastic (photopolymer) exposed with UV via an LCD display
 

Analytics in the field of additive manufacturing

Mechanical test methods
  • Tensile test according to DIN EN ISO 527
  • Three-point bending test according to DIN EN ISO 178
  • Peel test according to VDI 2019
  • Special test rigs: film hinges, determination of bond adhesion

Contact:
Irena Heuzeroth | +49 931 4104-658 | i.heuzeroth@skz.de 

Inline quality assurance
  • Infrared camera with special filter for monitoring the laser-based melting process in the SLS process
  • Camera systems mounted on print heads (FDM/ FLM/ FFF) for monitoring the deposition of the melt strand
  • Measuring device for determining the feed force of the filament, from which the melt pressure in the nozzle can be derived

Contact:
Manfred Popp | +49 931 4104-200 | m.popp@skz.de

Particle size and shape

At SKZ, the particle properties of various materials can be determined using dynamic light scattering, laser diffraction, dynamic image analysis and sieving methods (measurable range: from 1 nm to 3500 µm depending on the test method). Depending on the application, materials that can be analyzed include emulsions, suspensions, powders (plastics, metals, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals), granulates and small pellets, fillers (chalk, talc, glass beads), but also fine fibers (wood, glass and carbon fibers) and nanoparticles.

Results of the test method:

  • Particle size and size distribution (distribution curve, Dx values, fraction percentages).
  • Particle shape (including sphericity, length/width ratio)
     

Contact:
Patrick Limbach | +49 0931 4104-473 | p.limbach@skz.de

Bulk density and pourability

Bulk density and flowability are important parameters for the conveying and metering behavior of granules and powders. Especially in the production of compounds and components, these values are of great importance for production control.
Relevant standards (excerpt): DIN EN ISO 60 (bulk density), DIN EN ISO 6186 (pourability)

Contact:
Patrick Limbach | +49 0931 4104-473 | p.limbach@skz.de

In-situ evaluation of melting and crystallization behavior

By means of DSC (dynamic differential calorimetry) or hot stage microscope (temperature range from -196 to 600 °C)

Contact:
Patrick Limbach | +49 0931 4104-473 | p.limbach@skz.de

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