Equipment: 3D Additive Manufacturing

The 3D printer as an important component of the "Coating Competence Center" at Empa provides an ideal platform for material processing and development in the field of additive manufacturing and for the conception of precise three-dimensional structures.
The 3D bioplotter "Manufacturer Series" from the company envision TEC is a highly versatile additive manufacturing device for processing a wide variety of liquid or solid materials such as biopolymers pellets, pastes out of ceramic or metal powders, thermoplstics, thermosetting resins, hydrogels, organic monomers or nanomaterials such as graphene. Being a relatively cheap and fast process compared to similar layer wise techniques the 3D bioplotter allows manufacturing of complex parts from prototype to finished product. The basis of the models is previously designed three-dimensional computer file data which is then simply sent to the printer. 
Technical data of the 3D bioplotter
Figure: 3D bioplotter "Manufacturer Series" from the company envison TEC
Axis Resolution (X, Y, Z) 1 mm
Speed 0.1 to 150 mm/s
Pressure 0.1 to 9.0 bar
Max. Build Volume (X, Y, Z) (150 x 150 x 140) mm
Needle Position Control Z-Sensor (1 μm resolution)
XY -  High Resolution Camera (9 μm resolution)
Min. inner needle diameter 0.1 mm
Number of Material per Scaffold Maximum 5 materials, 5 Printing Heads 
Print Specification Low Temperature Head (0 to 70 °C)
High Temperature Head (30 to 250 °C)
Air Filters Particle and Sterile Filters
Platform Temperature Control Heating and Cooling capable (-10 to 80°C)


Material development for advanced manufacturing
For the next industrial revolution "industry 4.0" the technique of 3D printing is one step further: from rapid prototyping to advanced manufacturing the production of durable functional components with defined mechanical and thermal properties: products from biopolymers, ceramics, metals, thermoplastics, hydrogels or nanomaterials. Additive manufacturing is a performant method when it comes to go beyond geometrical limitations of conventional manufacturing. Furthermore, playing with material properties one can introduce a fourth dimension to a previously printed 3D object in order to produce shape adaptive parts. 
What we offer:
  • A basis for three-dimensional additive precision manufacturing of your models, samples, prototypes, tools and finished products
  • The development of new cellulose-based and other biopolymer-based materials for 3D printing
  • Laboratories and support in developing your materials for 3D printing
  • Executing a print job based on your 3D STL data
  • Verifying whether a part is feasible or not and small production series
  • A R&D team with experience in additive manufacturing as well as the chemistry and physics of materials required for this purpose
  • The R&D infrastructure of the renowned research Empa institute
  • Various models of cooperation for sustainable and long-term development