We are constantly improving our products and our know-how.
Since innovation is our reason for being, research and development is the heart of our company. As researchers, we are used to being part of a knowledge community - as a company, we seek partnership in a strong network of suppliers, R&D partners as well as clients who share our vision: to advance FFF technology and make it more widely available to industry and research.
Our patent-pending binder system AM-Xcomp has been developed to be suitable for almost the entire range of available metal and ceramic powders. (AM-Xcomp can also be used in MIM and CIM processes.) Due to the high compatibility of AM-Xcomp, we are able to extrude almost all alloy and ceramic materials on the market into filaments, achieving unsurpassed enrichment rates of over 65 % by volume. This rate allows you to print and sinter parts with a density of over 98 % and excellent material properties. As a result, our customers can produce sintered parts with readings that approach traditionally manufactured materials by saving costs and time.
In addition to the high enrichment rates of the resulting filaments, our thermoplastic binder system has the following advantages:
Thanks to AM-Xcomp, we also make filaments with a low fusion viscosity, sufficient to enable printing layers with a thickness of under 100 μm. Quick consolidation after leaving the printing nozzle ensures a high stability of the printed shape.
Finally, due to the tight adjustment of the binder, aging processes like crystallization and brittleness hardly show up on our extruded filaments.
The high potential of technical ceramic is based on the superior ability to provide maximum resilience under thermal, mechanical and chemical influences. In contrast to metals, ceramic do not corrode and have significantly higher strength than metal alloys when used as a material for tools. Ceramics are usually processed with special diamond-coated tools and must be handled with utmost caution as not to damage the brittle components. This drives up the cost of post-processing. Compared to the traditional production, FFF printing of ceramic components offers considerable ease of effort. By printing ceramic components in a targeted manner, time-consuming milling, drilling or other machine processing can be avoided. Therefore, machine builders, toolmakers an special manufacturers will particularly benefit from the possibility of printing ceramics.
AM-Xact G-code-processing-software for optimum print quality and precision
AM Extrusion's developments include a technology that operates at the root of the FFF process: the machine commands for the FFF printer (G‑code). These commands define the paths of the printing extruder, which builds up the contour and filling structure of the component line by line and layer by layer. In the same operation, the necessary support structures are also defined.
A particular challenge of especially the metal FFF process is that after printing a component, thermal distortion of the components occurs during cooling. This is caused by the thermal properties of the polymer and is manifested in the sintered components.
Our patented AM‑Xact processor counteracts distortion by intelligent part manufacturing. The AM‑Xact processor modifies the standard G‑codes of common slicer software such as Simplify3D or Prusa Slicer and is generating a new optimized G‑code for the metal FFF process. Printing with AM-Xact produces more accurate parts that avoid the typical deformations of metal FFF. By using the AM‑Xact processor, we achieve a final contour deviation of under 100 micrometers for printed and subsequently sintered parts. So it has proven that it reliably meets industry-standard tolerances.
Future Technology Research
To ensure the optimal application and applicability of its filaments, AM Extrusion is developing its own print head (extruder) for industrial and desktop FFF printers. In cooperation with our technology partner, we also expect to soon launch our own printing system AM-Xfuse 1 as the perfect additive manufacturing device with adapted simulation- and slicer software for our filaments. Ultimately, with all our efforts in research and development, we are pursuing another goal: to establish simultaneous metal-ceramic printing on the market with our AM Multi Material Composer.
FFF and its capability of metal-ceramic multi-material-printing has enormous potential as a new manufacturing process for producing not only single materials, but also complex-shaped small workpieces or microsystems consisting of different metals and ceramics. For example, as soon as insulating and conductive materials need to be manufactured simultaneously and filament fusion is a viable method, it will be the preferred choice. The main advantage of this process is the ability to produce multi-component parts in one step, avoiding time-consuming joining or assembly operations, as required in power electronics, where high-temperature ceramic insulation and excellent electrical conductors, such as copper, are needed.
In addition, complex functionalities and improved mechanical material properties can be achieved by developing metal-matrix-composite (MMC) filaments. The interaction of ductile metal matrix and hard ceramic microstructure reinforcement enables a new family of matrix materials with innovative strength, deformation and energy absorption properties. Such materials are the subject of research in aerospace, energy technology and the metal industry and can be produced using our FFF technology instantly.
Innovating and Manufacturing of AM-X Filaments
AM Extrusion develops 3D printing filaments for small and large production quantities. To meet the highest industry standards, our candidates for series production are tested and optimized until the desired specifications can be reliably and easily reproduced in all possible application environments. Above all, we also keep an eye on the scalability of filament production so that consistent quality can also be guaranteed for future requests for large quantities. We produce filament in varying batch sizes from 0.5–500 kg on demand.
AM-X filaments do not exhibit any agglomeration or inhomogeneity when highly filled. This requires not only know-how and experience in compounding, but also a lot of patience, because every powder behaves differently. In addition to care in the choice of powder, the appropriate compounding technique and the ideal process sequence must be found for each material.
With a metal particle loading of 62-65 % by volume, AM-X filaments can be used to print components that shrink by only 12 % during sintering. This makes it possible to predict the final contour in the range of about ±50 μm. Such values correspond to classical metal injection molding and satisfies standard tolerances.
Finally, in cooperation with companies, Fraunhofer institutes, and universities, the microstructure like grain-size, and different metal phases after sintering and hardening are analyzed and information on mechanical, electrical and thermal properties are obtained. Based on this information, the sintering temperatures and other processing parameters specified for AM-X filaments are optimally adjusted.