Fast and flexible production from the TNO

TNO’s carousel is a flexible production line for small series that goes beyond batch-wise additive manufacturing.

The TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) says its new pilot line is an extremely flexible production platform for additive manufacturing technologies and other elements, like pick-and-place robots or surface finishing equipment. Thanks to the continuous operation principle, a single pass means the addition of many different materials. One hundred different products can be built in a matter of minutes, TNO claims.

Flexible and integrated

According to the TNO’s official press release, the carousel is a flexible production line for small series that goes beyond batch-wise additive manufacturing. It is faster and more versatile than roll-to-roll production because of the continuous movement of the stages, and it is also capable of multiple passes under one print head. This machine is an embodiment of TNO’s vision for additive technologies. The platform is fully flexible in a sense that commercially available equipment can be connected to the line. In this way, the machine can serve as a pilot production line for a great variety of applications. We would like to invite companies to connect their business to our vision and together develop this technology towards an additive production line.

High Viscous inkjet technology

Having a pilot line that operates at production speed also requires deposition technologies that allows the processing of materials that results in real products. TNO has developed a print head that can process polymers with viscosities up to 500 mPa•s at room temperature. This is a major difference compared to commercially available systems that mainly operate around 20 mPa•s. In general, the higher the polymer viscosity, the better the functional properties of the end product. This system therefore facilitates the shift from prototyping to manufacturing. The print head is suitable for the printing of a wide range of materials. TNO develops tailor-made solutions depending on the desired application, printing and material requirements.