According to data from the authoritative global 3D printing report “Wohlers Roport 2022”, polymer powder materials (such as PA nylon, TPU, etc.) have become one of the most commonly used 3D printing materials, which means that 3D printing technology has begun to evolve from prototype verification applications. To production-level application is an important symbol of the industry’s development towards large-scale production and application.
Among the polymer powder materials used in 3D printing, TPU powder is a 3D printing material with fast resilience, excellent mechanical properties and bending fatigue resistance, and good safety. Therefore, it is widely used in the manufacturing of products in shoe midsoles, car seat cushions, shock-proof helmets and other fields.
Process challenges of SLS laser sintering TPU materials
However, compared with polymer materials such as PA nylon, conventional TPU powder processing based on the SLS laser sintering and sla 3D printing process has high smoke characteristics, which brings the following challenges to industrial applications:
Because high smoke will contaminate the laser protective mirror, it will have a greater impact on the performance consistency of the finished parts. The solution of the smoke filter system will also affect the temperature field distribution of the powder, which will affect the consistency of the finished parts. Therefore, how to achieve the balance and stability of the wind field and temperature field is one of the challenges of the SLS processing system.
If the sealing is poor, smoke leakage will not only create a factory processing environment, but also be detrimental to the health of operators.
2.Limi Technology TPU elastomer 3D printing solution
On December 15, 2022, Be-Cu.com learned that in response to the above pain points, Limi Technology launched the SLS 3d printing service mass production solution T560 additive equipment for the shoe industry, which specializes in printing TPU elastomers. The equipment adopts an open-source dual-laser design. The equipment is equipped with dual lasers for higher printing efficiency. The size of the forming cylinder reaches 560×350×270mm, and it is compatible with a variety of polymer materials such as TPU and PP. Equipped with smoke filtration and multi-zone temperature control systems, the equipment can achieve highly consistent printing in high smoke environments with lower overall costs. In addition to the shoe industry, this mass production solution is also suitable for aerospace, automotive, medical, education, home appliances, consumer goods and other fields.
- Uniform and stable temperature: Using innovative smoke filtering and multi-zone independent temperature control technology, the temperature field is more uniform and stable.
- High printing consistency: Advanced process system has the characteristics of high print yield and high consistency.
- High printing efficiency: Optimized optical scanning path planning, higher printing efficiency.
- Equipment open source: Self-developed open source control software SLBulider, open core process parameters of equipment, empowers customers to develop third-party materials, and helps customers deepen and expand application fields.
- Easy to operate: The equipment can be quickly replaced with a forming cylinder to improve equipment utilization. It has functions such as one-click powder spreading and one-click printing, making it easy to operate.
- High safety: multi-dimensional safety matrix to avoid damage to personnel and equipment.
3D Printed TPU Elastomer Shoe Midsole
3D printed shoes are a typical application of TPU Shoes 3D printing technology for the shoe industry. The application of 3D printed shoe midsoles meets people’s functional needs for shoe cushioning and lightweight. With the deepening of the application of 3D printing technology, it will definitely bring a new round of changes to the 3D printing shoe industry.
The T560 equipment has a customized printing format for the shoe industry. It can lay out multiple midsoles of shoes of sizes 35-46, and can realize multi-layer batch printing through stacking typesetting, with high printing yield and high printing consistency.
About Be-Cu Prototype
Be-Cu Prototype is a “one-stop” complete solution provider focusing on metal and non-metal additive manufacturing applications, providing customers with equipment, materials, systems, design, and engineering services. The company is born for application, adhering to the concept of “continuous innovation empowers 3D printing industrialization”, relying on professional design, production and service system comprehensive capabilities to lower the industry technology application threshold and provide complete solutions for global industrial customers.
The founding team of Be-Cu Prototype has entered the field of 3D printing in China very early, participated in and witnessed the main development process of China’s additive manufacturing industry, accumulated rich industry experience and technical foundation, and has a strong understanding of the development, application and customers of China’s additive manufacturing industry. A deep understanding of the essential needs.
The company mainly relies on its full-process mass production equipment of polymers and polymer elastomer application technology to provide complete solutions for industries such as consumer goods, automobiles, medical, industrial and robotics. As of 2019, the team has focused on the development of 3D printed shoe midsoles and has a number of core patents with independent intellectual property rights. At the same time, the company has independently developed and mass-produced polymer 3D printing equipment represented by TPU, and established a prototype project from design to mass production in the shoe industry.