The Design and Prototyping Group of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing has developed a unique hybrid 3D printing process that allows electrical, optical and structural elements to be introduced throughout an additively manufactured component during the build process.
THREAD is a patent-pending process, which means components can now be manufactured with in-built, continuous connectivity and additional functionality passing through the X, Y and Z axes.
The fully automated THREAD process is suited to a variety of additive manufacturing (AM) platforms.
Says AMRC development engineer and AM specialist Mark Cocking: “THREAD has scope to simultaneously add multiple industry-recognised threads of differing materials into one component, giving the component additional functions. This will open AM up to a greater variety of uses.
UK Patent Application Number G1703137.8
“The development of this process is a potential game-changer. It could be used across many sectors such as medical, aerospace and automotive; where weight and size of components is critical or where components would benefit from integrated data transfer and the protection of sealed connective tracks.”
“THREAD has potential to be developed as an add-on technology for existing AM platforms and also incorporated into next generation AM technologies.”
Chris Iveson, who is driving the commercialisation of the technology, adds: “We see THREAD transforming the functionality of additively manufactured components. Feedback from our contacts in various industries indicates a real need for this capability, with new potential applications being discussed daily. This is a great example of the AMRC using its unique expertise to solve real industry problems.”
The AMRC are further developing the THREAD process and technology for various commercial markets.
For further details visit http://www.amrc.co.uk/news/the-amrc-invents-game-changing-hybrid-3d-printing-process