Adding Customized Prints and Functions to 3D Objects
Addmanu is a national flagship project for researching, developing and establishing additive manufacturing. Within the project, four areas are defined as leading technologies for additive manufacturing: lithography-based manufacturing (LBM), fused filament fabrication (FFF), selective laser melting (SLM) and inkjet printing. In the project, PROFACTOR is developing a prototype lightweight robot fitted with an inkjet printhead for designing curved surfaces. In addition, materials are being developed in cooperation with a partner company in Upper Austria without which this technology would not be possible. Printing curved surfaces and three-dimensional objects is one of the next big challenges in the industry. Objects such as footballs, shoes and the like must be dyed or printed during the production process before they are assembled or sewn together. Currently, bespoke illustration of objects and 3D components is only possible in exceptional cases. The PROFACTOR robot shows that the surface of every single component can be given its own design – similar to a print job sent to the inkjet printer in an office. In the project, PROFACTOR is not just researching the decorative printing of 3D components, but also their functionalization. Functionalization of surfaces using nanotechnological methods, among others, is regarded as essential for innovative products with individual and distinctive properties. The large amount of technology involved also means that products created in this way are highly unlikely to be illegally copied.