Chromatic develops new “Smooth-Mode” Technology for Ultra-Smooth 3D-Printed Rubber Parts

Chromatic's RX-AM™ materials and technology platform is shown here 3D printing smooth polyurethane grommets with Smooth-Mode.

Chromatic 3D Materials, a 3D-printing technology provider, has developed “Smooth-Mode” technology for 3D printing of durable rubber parts with ultra-smooth surfaces. The new solution would enable industrial manufacturers to 3D print smooth, high-quality polyurethane parts, such as seals, gaskets, grommets, bladders and other elastomeric products, with no post processing or surface finishing. 

“Sealing requires a smooth surface, but 3D-printed parts have always had layer lines or roughness. We have developed a way to easily and cost-effectively 3D print products that are ultra-smooth without additional steps. It’s a breakthrough for 3D printing those professional applications that must be airtight and watertight,” said Dr. Cora Leibig, Chromatic CEO and founder. 

Parts printed with Smooth-Mode technology have superior aesthetics as well as finer dimensional accuracy. For example, products can be printed with precise uniform thickness at submillimeter scale. Thus, the new technology is suitable for manufacturing rubber bladders and other elastomeric products that expand and contract.

Chromatic’s team of additive manufacturing experts first achieved ultra-smooth prints by fine-tuning the viscosity and surface tension of the company’s printable thermoset polyurethane materials. “We developed a way to go beyond simply applying our reaction technology to FDM printing. Smooth-Mode uses chemistry to create an ultra-bonded and smooth part. We believe this printing technique delivers the world’s smoothest printing along the Z, or height, axis,” explained Dr. Bart Engendahl, Chromatic’s managing director in Germany. 

Industrial manufacturers can take advantage of Smooth-Mode with Chromatic’s RX-AM materials and technology platform. A 3-in-1 platform, RX-AM includes materials, software and hardware for deposition printing with reactive chemistry. RX-AM, or Reactive Extrusion Additive Manufacturing, uses printable polyurethanes with Shore A hardness ranging from 50 to 90 as well as custom grades with varying colors, hardnesses and special properties (e.g. antibacterial, static discharge, biocides, etcetera). The platform is designed for printing commercial volumes.

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