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Quality Digest


FGK and AIM3D: Cooperation in CEM 3D Printing With a Focus on Ceramics

Developing machines and systems for metal, plastic, and ceramic 3D-printed components

Published: Monday, February 13, 2023 - 13:00

(Forschungsinstitut für Glas-Keramik: Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany) -- Forschungsinstitut für Glas-Keramik (FGK) is an institute affiliated with the Koblenz University of Applied Science, which deals with research into inorganic materials in the material groups of glass and ceramics. Koblenz offers an engineering course in materials technology for glass and ceramics, which is the source of several of the now-50 employees at the institute.

The FGK focuses on research and development, materials testing, and innovation consulting as a partner and service provider for industrial companies. Equipped with an extensive range of system, process, and measurement technology, the institute is an accredited testing laboratory for analytics in the material groups of ceramics and glass. The main areas of research are silicate ceramics, structural ceramics, functional ceramics, and additive manufacturing.

The institute specifies and characterizes raw materials within the framework of quality assurance, advises on modern process and application technology, determines optimal process parameters, and analyzes the potential for added value along the ceramic process chain for industrial companies. It also offers innovation consulting to support industrial companies during new applications, and helps startups achieve a shorter time to market.

Incorporated into the Westerwald campus, Forschungsinstitut für Glas/Keramik is in the historic Kannenbäckerland, a European core region for the production of ceramics and glass with a number of industrial companies, such as Sahm and Rastal.

Background information

The composite extrusion modeling (CEM) process combines the metal injection-molding (MIM) process, which is already established worldwide, with process technologies from additive manufacturing.

This is based on both the fused deposition modeling (FDM) process and the selective laser melting (SLM) process, thus creating an optimal blend of conventional production methods and innovative additive manufacturing.

The result is a very simple process, based on inexpensive and widely available injection-molding pellets while offering the freedom of additive manufacturing with no need for molds. The CEM process not only significantly lowers material costs, but also drastically cuts machine costs. Common problems in metal manufacturing, such as residual stresses, are significantly reduced with the CEM process.

Fused granulate modeling

Fused granulate modeling (FGM) is an additive manufacturing process and is based on the widely used thermoplastic melt layer process (FDM/FFF).

The print head processes pellets into a thin melt thread and applies it to the build area. Thanks to the automatic generation of support material, more complex shapes can also be produced, enabling custom-made production or prototype production with injection-molding technology. In contrast to the common melt layer processes, such as fused filament fabrication (FFF), FGM does not use an elaborately produced filament but conventional series-production thermoplastic injection-molding pellets.


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