The AMRC invents game-changing hybrid 3D printing process

The Design and Prototyping Group of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing has developed a unique hybrid 3D printing process that allows electrical, optical and structural elements to be introduced throughout an additively manufactured component during the build process.

‘THREAD’ is a patent-pending process, which means components can now be manufactured with in-built, continuous connectivity and additional functionality passing through the X, Y and Z axes.

The fully automated THREAD process is suited to a variety of additive manufacturing (AM) platforms. It as so far been successfully demonstrated on machines used for 3D printing polymer components.

AMRC Development Engineer and AM specialist Mark Cocking said: “THREAD has scope to simultaneously add multiple industry-recognised threads of differing materials into one component, giving the component additional functions. This will open AM up to a greater variety of uses.

“The development of this process is a potential game-changer. It could be used across many sectors such as medical, aerospace and automotive; where weight and size of components is critical or where components would benefit from integrated data transfer and the protection of sealed connective tracks.”

 “THREAD has potential to be developed as an add-on technology for existing AM platforms and also incorporated into next generation AM technologies,” added Mark Cocking.

The AMRC are further developing the THREAD process and technology for various commercial markets. Manufacturers of 3D printers and industrial users of 3D printing processes are encouraged to contact the AMRC Design and Prototyping Group.

Please direct enquiries to Mark Cocking, AMRC Development Engineer and AM Specialist, at m.cocking@amrc.co.uk or 0114 222 6244

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