Five projects to push ExOne Binder Jet 3D Printing forward receive funding

Five projects from Pennsylvania universities have received funding to advance ExOne binder jet 3D Printing technology.

The funding has been granted as part of the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program. According to ExOne CEO John Hartner, the program aims to expand “research and development efforts in important ways with the assistance of Pennsylvania’s outstanding universities and other technology companies.” As far as ExOne is concerned, “the projects funded by this program will help [the company] unlock the commercial and sustainability value that binder jet 3D printing has to offer, such as delivering lighter weight vehicles that are more fuel-efficient as well as all-new innovations”, Hartner continues.

Binder jetting technology is without any doubt a relatively mature technology, mature enough to produce a complete industrial part. Its process is relatively simple: an industrial printhead deposits a liquid binder onto a thin layer of powdered particles, layer by layer, until the part is formed; but maturity is not enough for an industry that aspires to perfect digital transformation.

ExOne culminates two decades of metal 3D printing development. At the heart of this development lies a deep collaboration with universities, organizations and even customers. This “aggressive” approach includes many parameters including the optimization of how materials, machines and processes work together.

In total, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) awarded $2.8M to Pennsylvania universities for 43 projects to push manufacturing technology projects forward.

“We strongly value our relationships with the academic R&D community, and we appreciate their support enhancing our competitiveness and advancing this important 3D printing field,” Hartner concluded. “We congratulate our partners and all of the other universities and companies receiving Manufacturing PA Innovation funding.”

 A few words on the five projects

The five projects funded by Manufacturing PA will help ExOne resolve challenges related to printing irregular and porous powders, as well as sintering and identifying parts that can best benefit from binder jet 3D printing, among other projects. The awards are as follows:

  • Carnegie Mellon University: “Binder Jet 3D Printing from Powder Produced by Metal Attrition.” This project will work to optimize binder jet printing parameters and densification of irregularly shaped powders, such as those experiencing attrition.
  • Carnegie Mellon University, with Kennametal and Ansys: “Optimal Parts Consolidation and Structural Redesign for Additive Manufacturing to Reduce Weight, Production Costs, and Lifecycle Fuel Use.” This project aims to create a software tool that allows users to upload a CAD file of a large-scale system and automatically identify components and subsystems for consolidation and optimization with binder jet 3D printing. This will allow manufacturers to minimize production costs and lightweight existing parts while preserving functionality.
  • The Pennsylvania State University: “Advanced Manufacturing of Ceramics for PA Industries.” This project aims to develop a new class of ceramic materials using binder jetting technology, which will provide a unique combination of high-temperature stability, corrosion resistance and toughness for a wide range of applications.
  • University of Pittsburgh with Ansys: “A Computational Tool for Simulating the Sintering Behavior in Binder Jet Additive Manufacturing.” This project aims to develop a computational tool for simulating the deformation and porosity resulting from the sintering of binder jet 3D printed parts made of 316L stainless steel powders.
  • Villanova University: “Wetting of Binder Solution on Porous Bed of Microparticles.” This project will investigate how to best wet porous particles with binder and generate guidelines or parameters for this form of 3D printing.

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