ACEO® Launches Hard/Soft Multi-Material 3D Printing

Burghausen, February 22nd, 2021 – WACKER’s ACEO® team launches another new-to-the-world material combination that allows silicone elastomers and epoxy thermoset materials to be printed in one single print. The resulting combination of hard and soft materials enables designers and engineers to develop new, highly functional applications.

ACEO® – WACKER’s “3D printing with silicones” brand – continues to expand its technology portfolio. Multi-material printing with different silicones – color and hardness combinations – has been available for a number of years now. ACEO®’s industrial printers are equipped with four nozzles and so parts with up to four different materials (incl. support material) can be printed. At formnext 2018, ACEO® added electrically conductive silicone to its multi-material portfolio.

Today, we are proud to announce another unique multi-material option, which allows silicone elastomers to be printed in combination with epoxy thermoset material. WACKER ACEO® and DELO Industrial Adhesives worked together to enable this novel combination of hard and soft materials. The technology uses DELO’s specially developed DELO KATIOBOND AM6677 grade that has been optimized for printing with ACEO®’s drop-on-demand process.

Silconic Tube

Picture: WACKER ACEO®. Silicone tube with integrated screw connection

With this new-to-the-world technology, it is now possible to realize complex 3D geometries where DELO’s epoxy material provides stiffness and strength and ACEO®’s silicones provide softness and elasticity – in one print. There is no adhesion between the two materials which means that they can be easily separated after use. This also means that the design needs to provide for mechanical anchoring between the two material segments to ensure part integrity (design guidelines available).

In terms of applications, this opens a whole new world of opportunities where strength and stiffness in combination with elasticity and softness are required.

For instance, silicone applications can be made stronger by adding epoxy reinforcements or protective sections, and designers can add functionality by adding tough connector parts.

According to Egbert Klaassen, global marketing director of ACEO®: “The design freedom we offer with our drop-on-demand technology has inspired hundreds of designers and engineers around the world. The possibility to use these complementary materials adds a new dimension and challenges developers to create even smarter designs!”

From the epoxy point of view, engineers can now make hard products safer by designing soft interfaces, they can provide flexibility by adding hinges or dampening by adding spring elements and so on.

According to Dr. Karl Bitzer, Head of Product Management at DELO: “Epoxies are typically used in high durability applications. Enabling 3D printing in combination with silicone elastomers, will open up new opportunities in high performance market segments such as Electronics, Automotive, Machines & Equipment and more.”

Clever combinations not only allow for highly functional designs but can also be more efficient than multiple parts by avoiding complex assembly operations.

The technology is accessible as of immediately. To order your part or to get a quote, simply upload your .STL or .STEP file at ACEO®’s web shop.

Picture: WACKER ACEO®. Simmerring with silicone on the outside (blue) and epoxy on the inside (white opaque).

About DELO

DELO is a leading manufacturer of high-tech adhesives and other multifunctional materials as well as the corresponding dispensing and curing equipment. The company’s products are mainly used in the automotive, consumer, and industrial electronics industries. They can be found in almost every mobile phone and every second car worldwide, for example in cameras, loudspeakers, electric motors, or sensors. Customers include Bosch, Daimler, Huawei, Osram, Siemens, and Sony. DELO’s headquarters are in Windach near Munich, with subsidiaries in the USA, China, Singapore, and Japan as well as representative offices and agencies in numerous other countries. The company has 800 employees and achieved a turnover of 163 million euros in the last financial year.

DELO Headquarters (photo: DELO)

Picture: DELO. DELO Headquarters

About ACEO®

WACKER’s 3D printing technology ACEO® is the world’s first industrial-scale technology for the additive manufacturing of liquid silicone rubber components. The unique drop-on-demand technology allows design freedom and the printing of highly functional parts while maintaining the outstanding properties of silicone rubber such as temperature and radiation resistance or biocompatibility. Printed silicone rubber components can be used in a wide range of applications and in several key industries such as the automotive, aerospace & aviation, healthcare and equipment industry as well as in mechanical engineering. ACEO® offers several services including design support, training sessions at its print lab and a webshop for secure file upload and ordering. ACEO® is a registered trademark of WACKER.

3D printed transparent ACEO® logo made of 100% silicone (photo: WACKER)

Picture: WACKER. 3D printed transparent ACEO® logo made of 100% silicone

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