Surface technology for additive manufacturing

SLS part, lacquered and metal plated
© Fraunhofer IAP, Andreas Holländer

SLS part, smoothed by lacquering and metal plated. The part was supplied by sirris, Belgium.

ABS printed on PET
© Fraunhofer IAP, Andreas Holländer

ABS part FDM printed on surface functionalized PET.

Additive manufacturing (AM) offers the opportunity to produce components with optimized shape for light weight applications and the individualization of products. As 3D printing it is available for everybody but it also is about to enter industrial production.

Surface technology has the potential to improve AM technology in various ways. For example, the roughness and the porosity of the surface is a systematic feature of many of today’s AM technologies. Surface treatment can help to overcome these issues. The surface activation and lacquering can improve the surface properties considerably and additionally it can provide extra functions be it anti-microbial properties or a metallic surface.

In future the additive manufacturing with a combination of many different materials will be required for products which exploit the specific advantages of the particular material at the particular part of the product. In these products surface technology will be required to tailor the interfaces between the materials.

We cooperate with Sirris in Belgium who are experts in additive manufacturing and in lacquer coating technology. A cooperation project was funded under the CORNET scheme by the German BMWi (IGF 166EBR).