Lithography based additive manufacturing technologies (AMT) are capable of fabricating parts with excellent surface quality, good feature resolution and precision. With recent developments in the field of ultra-short-pulse lasers and light engines based on light emitting diodes, robust and economical light sources have become available. This project aims at developing integrated lithography-based additive manufacturing systems which will, for the first time, facilitate the processing of photopolymer-based materials for the factory of the future. The focus of the project is to unite industrial know-how in the field of supply chain and quality management, software development, photopolymers and ceramics, high-performance light-sources, system integration and end-users in order to provide a fully integrated process chain at the end of the project. The consortium will rely on two core-technologies for the processing of the evisaged radiation curable materials:
(1) Digital light processing (DLP) based processes will be used to process ceramic-filled photopolymers, leading to fully dense ceramic parts at the end of the process chain.
(2) Two photon polymerization (2PP) will be used to fabricate high-resolution structures with features in the range of 100-200nm.
Both processes will be tuned to reduce system costs, and significantly increase throughput and reliability at the same time. Goal is to deliver “first-time-right” strategies for the involved end-users. This necessitates the development of supply chains with integrated quality sensors. Targeted applications include thread guides for textile machinery, ceramic moulds for the fabrication of high-performance turbine blades and microstructures for computer tomography equipment.