IWU develops Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing

SEAM can accelerate the additive manufacture of plastic components eightfold over conventional processes. The process achieves this ultra-fast production speed by combining 3D printing with the motion system of a machine tool. © Fraunhofer IWU

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU have now developed Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM), a system and process that is eight times faster than conventional 3D printing.

The system’s high-speed technology takes only 18 minutes to produce a plastic component that is 30 cm high. A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer IWU has developed this technology for the additive manufacture of large-volume resilient plastic components. Tool manufacturers, as well as the automotive and aerospace industries, benefit from the innovative 3D printer that achieves eight times the process speed. This printer uses the SEAM – short for Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing – a process developed at the Chemnitz Institute.

SEAM allows researchers to implement complex geometries without supporting structures. The highlight is that the new system even makes it possible to print on existing injection-molded components.

The first printer of its kind in the world will be demonstrated for the first time at the Hannover Messe 2019. From April 1 through 5, the researchers from Fraunhofer IWU will present the operation of their ultra-fast 3D printer (Hall 2, Booth C22).