ExOne, an industrial 3D printing company based in North Huntingdon, PA, has partnered with SGL Group to make 3D printed carbon and graphite components under the brand name CARBOPRINT.
3D printing with carbon is one of the most widely appealing areas of additive manufacturing. Printers like the Markforged Mark Two have enjoyed big success in offering a unique carbon fiber printing ability, and there are only a handful of 3D printing companies that specialize in the printing of the ultra-hard material.
A new collaboration between ExOne and SGL Group sees a new carbon 3D printing option in industrial additive manufacturing: CARBOPRINT, a binder jetting 3D printing process that also handles graphite.
“ExOne has formed a unique collaborative relationship with SGL Group who has developed a material that is ideally suited for our binder jetting technology,” said Rick Lucas, ExOne’s Chief Technology Officer. “This technology enables not only the production of small prototypes, but also efficient serial production and fast development of customer-specific solutions.”
While SGL Group has contributed its knowledge on raw material and powder preparation, as well as post-processing, ExOne has handled the 3D printing side.
Post-processing plays a major role in the CARBOPRINT process, since a 3D printed carbon part is initially porous. To deal with this porosity, SGL Group’s post-processing techniques, which include polymer impregnation and silicon or metal infiltration, serve to alter the material properties to suit the specific application of the 3D printed part.
An initial material development study has already been completed, and the two companies are now developing the first trial components for testing. These will be in the domain of chemical apparatus construction and environmental technology, in order to fully test the chemical stability and electrical and thermal conductivity of the 3D printed carbon.
Some specific parts that will be made using CARBOPRINT include heat exchangers and components for distillation columns, as well as pump components.