Objet 3D Printing Systems Use Polyjet Technology

Objet Geometries offers ultra-thin layer (0.016mm), high-resolution 3D printing systems. The company's range includes the Eden line of professional 3D printers and the Alaris range of desktop 3D printing systems, both of which are based on Objet's Polyjet technology. Top of the range is the Connex - a multi-material 3D printing system. Connex is based on Polyjet Matrix technology, which jets multiple model materials simultaneously to create composite digital materials on the fly.

All of the company's systems use Objet's Fullcure materials to produce accurate, clean, smooth and detailed 3D models. Resins within the Fullcure range includes transparent, coloured, opaque, flexible and rigid properties. Fully cured models can be handled immediately after being built, whereas other RP technologies and materials require lengthy post-processing. Objet's Polyjet technology works by jetting state-of-the-art photopolymer materials in ultra-thin layers on to a build tray layer by layer until the part is complete.

The entire process is managed by the Objet studio software. Each photopolymer layer is cured by UV light immediately after it is jetted. The gel-like support material, which is specially designed to support complicated geometries is removed by hand and water jetting, making it compatible with office environments. Model production is fast due to high-speed raster build up at full width, while simultaneous building of multiple items can be accommodated.

Objet systems are said to produce a resolution of 0.016mm to ensure smooth, accurate and detailed parts and models. Objet's Polyjet Matrix technology enables simultaneous jetting of different types of model materials. Available on Objet's Connex range of 3D printing systems, Polyjet Matrix is claimed to open up several opportunities for closely emulating the look, feel and function of final products. It provides the technology foundation for 3D printing systems that can, in a single build process, print parts and assemblies made of several materials with different mechanical and physical properties.

Polyjet Matrix also allows on-demand fabrication of composite materials, called Digital Materials. This technology works by jetting two distinct Objet Fullcure photopolymer model materials in preset combinations. The dual-jet process can combine materials in several ways, enabling the simultaneous use of two different rigid materials, two flexible materials, one of each type, any combination with transparent material, or two jets of the same material.

Each material is fed into a dedicated liquid system connected to the Polyjet Matrix block, which contains eight printing heads. Two synchronised printing heads are designated for each material, including the support material, while Polyjet Matrix technology controls all of the 96 nozzles in every print head. Preset composites of model materials are jetted from designated nozzles according to location and model type, providing full control of the structure of the jetted material and its mechanical properties.

This enables each Digital Material to provide specific values for tensile strength, elongation to break, HDT and even Shore A values. The first commercial implementation of Digital Materials consisted of 21 materials. Objet then released nine additional Digital Materials, which together formed Digital Materials Pack 1. The latest Digital Materials Pack 2 includes an additional 18 materials, 12 rubber like and six rigid.

With Digital Material Pack 2, a Connex part can be printed with up to 11 materials in a single build. As well as emulating the mechanical properties of the target design, Polyjet Matrix allows the combination of black and white rigid materials, creating a range of greyscales suitable for consumer electronics and other applications. It also reduces the risk of error when creating complex moulds for double injection by enabling the majority of testing to be performed on early stage prototypes instead of requiring silicon moulds. Companies interested in 3D printing can contact Objet Printing Solutions for a no-obligation demonstration, or request a free sample 3D model from CAD data.


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