The objective of the SG-3DP Solutions project is to improve the shaping of exotic materials such as ceramics, metals and polymers by 3D printing. Alternative technologies on the market have many limitations that do not meet all the industry's expectations. Indeed, the complexity of the parts, as well as the specific properties of certain materials, sometimes make their shaping impossible.
The industrialization of the “Solvent on Granule Three-Dimensional Printing” (SG-3DP) technology aims to meet these needs. This innovative printing process remains straightforward and universal. By working on the base powder, we standardize the material to make it printable while keeping its intrinsic properties. The choice of material, therefore, does not impact the printing technique. We offer industries the opportunity to optimize the parts to be produced without being limited by their complexity or the choice of material.
What is special about the project?
In order to obtain good quality 3D printed parts with proper density, purity, mechanical properties, surface finishing, there are limitations in the use of proper base powder compositions and granulometry. Moreover, contamination due to unsuitable processing atmosphere during part consolidation or cross-contamination after changing the powder to produce parts with a different material also are issues. The choice of powder proposed by the machine producers is often limited due to the material and its morphology. Relatively coarse powder with narrow particle size distributions is usually used for easy spreading. However, this frequently leads to residual porosity after sintering of parts processed by “Binder Jetting” AM. This is not a major problem on parts processed by laser melting AM, because the melt fills the empty spaces. However, laser melting techniques must deal with other issues such as layer shrinking after cooling, residual thermal stresses and removal of support structures.
The SG-3DP technology offers a range of solutions to the problems described above. This process remains simple and universal. Therefore, it applies to a wide range of materials. We standardize the material. The material is easily printable while keeping its properties to obtain dense parts after sintering. We offer customers the advantage of producing functional parts whose geometric complexity is not limited by the shaping possibilities. Despite the intrinsic price of the material, it does not impact the production cost of the parts. Through various internal projects and multiple company mandates, this technology has shown its potential of producing parts with complex geometries and good mechanical properties. Analyses during various HES-SO projects have shown that the density of parts shaped by SG-3DP is close to density of parts produced by conventional manufacturing processes. Beyond the range of materials that can be shaped, this technology will allow each industrial segment to improve their manufacturing processes by reducing production costs and simplifying the manufacture of complex parts.
The SG-3DP technology was invented by a research group within the HES-SO Valais-Wallis. Following the promising results, the institute developed a first functional tabletop printer. A multitude of projects and mandates have resulted from this work, allowing the Systems Engineering institute to pursue the development of the technology and increase its visibility among industrials. Recently, the research institute has been working closely with the tooling industry. The concerned company has already funded several projects to further develop the “SG-3DP” technology. As a result, functional parts were produced, tested under real conditions and validated by the industrial partner.
Currently, we also own a modular laboratory machine. We mainly use this tool to implement, test and validate the different modules. This test bench is our working base to develop our project with a focus on industrialization.
Stöckli, A. (2019). Production de pièces en acier par impression 3D jet d’encre [Travail de bachelor]. Sion : HES-SO Valais-Wallis, Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie (HEI)
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Persons involved in the project
, project manager, 079 462 39 86
Fabien Lorenzetti, project member
Efraín Carreño-Morelli, project member
Mikel Rodriguez-Arbaizar, project member
Last update to this project presentation 14.05.2020