The Admaflex Technology
Stereolithography/Digital Light Processing
The Admaflex technology originates from Stereolithograpy (SLA), currently the most reliable and precise additive technique. SLA is a way of 3D printing layer-by-layer, using photosensitive liquid polymers cured through light. This technology enables the production of high-quality products for high-demanding markets.
Where SLA uses ultraviolet light to create laser spot size resolution, the Admaflex applies a derivative of it; Digital Light Processing (DLP). DLP can be seen as an updated version of SLA, as it uses a projector screen instead of a laser to flash an image across the full platform per layer. Therefore, the resolution of the Admaflex technology is expressed through pixel size, as layers are set-up out of square pixels. SLA/DLP does often require the use of supporting structures because of gravity, but the supports can be minimized through choosing the best print direction for your product as shown in our design guideline. The Admaflex technology is based on an indirect printing process because in order to photo-cure the ceramic/metal base-material it is necessary to add polymers to the final formulation of the slurry. Therefore, post-processing, including debinding and sintering steps, is needed to obtain the final material and product properties.
The Admaflex 3D printer also applies the “bottom-up” printing principle meaning that the building platform moves down into the resin, curing each layer from a light source below, and moves up again. This system allows the 3D printed portion of the final part to stay clean and away from the feedstock to ensure optimal printing quality.
The most reliable and precise technique delivering high quality parts with fine features
Printing through SLA technology also enables you to produce complex geometries with tight dimensional tolerance and smooth surface. The advantages of SLA in combination with the superior material qualities of ceramics, opens up a span of applicability for high-tech industries with the potential to change the industry of the future.
Applying DLP in the Admaflex technology adds efficiency to the process
It is faster because of the use of a projector screen illuminating the full building platform instead of a single laser beam. In addition, DLP is also more cost-effective than SLA as lasers are more expensive, need cooling and are more space consuming in AM machines compared to LEDs used for DLP.
The need for post processing is a benefit
The quality of the parts after debinding and sintering are considerably higher than other AM techniques, because it allows to achieve and control the level of density required for the final product. For example, parts printed in alumina can achieve nearly 100% density while parts printed in silica can have a higher porosity that is required for other applications like investment casting. Also, the quality of the parts in green stage are comparatively higher to other AM techniques (such as SLM) so that no labor intensive post-processing like grinding, lapping or polishing is required, while it can be done upon specific requirements as an added value.
This is beneficial since existing powders and familiar post-processing techniques from traditional manufacturing methods can be applied. Finally, the Admaflex technology applies bottom-up printing taking up less resin compared to top-down configuration.
Applying SLA/DLP technology to manufacture ceramics is the best way as it started as, and still remains, the number one type technology within the market especially for advanced ceramics 3D printing as it obtains products for high demanding markets, thanks to accuracy, surface quality and durability.
All in all, printing ceramics and metals with the Admaflex through the SLA/DLP principle continues to be a very interesting solution, especially for high-demanding products because of accuracy, surface quality and durability. But as technology development never stops, we are always investigating new opportunities. Check out our latest technology development if you’re curious to learn more.