Silicone Formulation and Curing Chemistry
When we developed ACEO®, our vision was to 3D print silicone elastomers with results similar to injection-molded liquid silicone rubber (LSR). Our formulations are based on over 70 years of silicone experience of Wacker Chemie AG. The basic formulation combines polymer with reinforcing filler, cross linker and addition-cure catalyst, which does not differ from LSR. Our silicones are 100% elastomeric and do not contain acrylates or urethanes. The Platinum catalyst is activated by UV light, which means it is not thermally activated.
A tough Challenge: Due to their high starting viscosity, real silicone elastomers cannot be printed with conventional technologies. We carefully evaluated various dosing methods and decided to develop our own contactless technology. There is no connection between print head and object, which allows freedom of design and best possible resolution.
Your Design is Our Command
Our pioneering technology comes directly to your mailbox with only a few simple steps in our web shop. After registration you can upload your CAD file and pay online. Your 3D-printed object will be shipped within 10–15 days after your payment and can be delivered worldwide.
A Look behind our IMAGINE Printers
Due to the high viscosity and low surface energy of silicones, the formation of droplets requires a dosing valve capable to shear and eject the material with high frequency. With this method, there is no contact between the nozzle of the valve and the 3D-printed object and consequently no string of material between nozzle and object. To create overhangs or cavities, the ACEO® IMAGINE printers use support material which is printed simultaneously as temporary placeholder for these material gaps. Equipped with several valves, our printers can handle more than one silicone at the same time – a process we call multi-material 3D printing.
ACEO® Printing Process
3. Support Material
The Heart of our Operation – ACEO® Studio Software
ACEO® IMAGINE printers operate with ACEO® Studio Software and dynamic machine control instead of merely executing static code. The geometry of the 3D-printed objects is matched with the digital CAD model. Should deviations occur, the machine control takes corrective action to ensure accuracy and reproducibility, which allows serial manufacturing. Our printing technology and software is intellectual property of Wacker Chemie AG.
Finish with Washing and Post-Curing
Once a print-run is finished, our operators take the objects out of the printers. Our support material is a non-hazardous material easily dissolved in water. If support material was used in the process, it is removed by washing it off. In a final step, the object is finished with a vacuum post-cure treatment at 200°C for 4 hours. This process is sustainable, safe and free of emission.
Quality Management for Highest Standards
Our Quality Management is ISO 9001 certified. The quality of a 3D-printed object is determined by the following parameters: CAD digital model, silicone formulation and machine parameters. The silicone can be traced back to raw materials. In line with the Integrated Management System of Wacker Chemie AG, tests and measurements are conducted according to inspection and test plans, where individual test positions are given with clearly described inspection and test methods. The measuring and test equipment is validated and calibrated on a regular basis. ACEO documents the inspection and test status of products as well as the treatment of non-conforming (e.g. with FMEA’s).