Material development is the next step forward in the 3D printing. Plasma equipment has been installed for VTT in Tampere, for the development and piloting of 3D printing powders. Plasma treatment changes the properties of various raw materials, for example the flowability of a material can be raised to the level required for 3D printing devices. The role of plasma treatment is emphasized especially in the processing of metal-ceramic composite powders.
There are only a few equivalent devices in Europe, which are mainly used by research departments only. VTT's equipment is available for academy and industry. VTT's ability to offer a range of material composition that fulfil the needs of industry and research teams is expanding considerably. Machine and equipment manufacturers and the energy sector will particularly benefit from the plasma equipment. Research institutions and universities could also benefit from it.
The new equipment is part of VTT's pilot environment for powder materials. It will enable pilot-scale demonstration across the entire production chain, from powder to product.
"We offer an easy way to bring ideas and research results much closer to industrial exploitation," said Tomi Lindroos, research team leader at VTT. "Our pilot environment, which is based on the one-stop principle, will markedly accelerate the achievement of results. We facilitate the entire production chain, from raw material to the testing of the finished component, thereby avoiding interruptions in companies' own production processes."
Photos courtesy VTT Technical Research Centre