BOFA world first technology expands 3D print market potential

In 3D print processes, the quality of the finished product is directly proportional to the accuracy of thermal control.

Additive manufacturing requires the application of high temperatures to join the materials that create the desired structure, whether that involves working thermoplastics for bespoke sports equipment or metal powders for high-grade aerospace parts.

Failure to maintain the correct temperature in any part of the fused deposition modelling process – whether at the 3D print nozzle, the bed or in the chamber – will likely result in unseen mechanical stresses or, as is the case with plastics, lead to problems such as delamination.

To help manufacturers maintain a homogenous environment, BOFA is developing a patented system for achieving high-temperature consistency while simultaneously filtering process emissions. This is becoming increasingly important as more companies look to leverage the cost, speed, and customisation benefits of 3D print technologies – and take advantage of the evolution of functional materials that have the potential to open up additive manufacturing across an ever-wider market spectrum.

BOFA’s patented technology uses active convection to control high temperatures in the 3D print chamber. It uses advanced air management principles to maintain a constant operating temperature matched to the requirement of the materials being worked.

Critically, this active convection is achieved while at the same time providing core filtration performance that helps keep key components free from dust, particulate, and gases. This technology helps manufacturers maintain their product quality while at the same time contributing to effective environmental management in the workplace.

These high-temperature conditions create other challenges in achieving steady state equilibrium, so alongside air management innovation, BOFA has also introduced ways to help protect system electronics and safeguard the performance of the multi-stage filtration system, for example by using specialist glues and gas filters to help ensure emissions adherence.

This architecture will shortly be debuted on BOFA’s new 3D PrintPRO HT – a world-first innovation for filtering nanoparticles, particulate, fume, and gases that will widen the operating environment for filtration in a high-temperature environment.

The 3D PrintPRO HT, currently in development, uses advanced electronics components and thermal insulation to deliver high levels of filtration performance in high temperature chamber environments– a significant increase over other models in BOFA’s 3D PrintPRO range. This helps with the safe removal of both potentially harmful airborne contaminants and particulate that could damage expensive equipment, using an anticipated maximum airflow rate of  50 cu ft/min.

This new technology will not only benefit existing 3D print processes, it will also open up new opportunities for the OEMs of 3D print machines to partner with science to develop high-performance materials for specific industries. This will increase the value proposition for a wider range of industry sectors, including construction, FMCG, and electronics.

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