Regarding the topic additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, a constantly growing range of laboratory equipment is available. Here, various production methods can be used by specialized and hybrid machines.
In addition to the actual printing technology various peripheral devices are available for the pre-and post-treatment of printing samples. The printing tests of the stages 1 and 2 can be performed either in our laboratory under UV-protective conditions, or in a climate laboratory with additional environmental control.
For small amounts of fluid and substrate printability testers for all common printing methods are available at the IDD. These machines can perform first material tests and conclusions on the printability and film formation can be drawn. In addition, machine and printing form parameters can be obtained in a small scale, which can be transferred to the lab-scale machines.
Lab-Scale Printing Machines
For printing tests on substrates in the range of DIN A4 the IDD uses lab-scale printing machines. In contrast to the printability testers the laboratory printing machines are distinguished with a more elaborate design. They often contain components that are also used for production machines, such as a sheet conveyance. In some machines an operation under continuous printing conditions is possible. With these machines whole areas and even complicated structures can be printed, which enables the production of demonstrators.
Inline Printing Presses
The third level of the printing laboratory covers the industrial production of printing products using all conventional printing processes. If printing tests have been successful with printability testing machines and laboratory printing machines (stages 1 and 2), such tests can be run in an inline-process.
For a successful production of printing products there are, apart from the printing process itself, additional steps before and after the printing needed. For the optimization of the wettability different pretreatment methods are available. The printed sheets could be aligned on various shakers and cut afterwards. A dryer equipped with all established methods allows the hardening of various fluid types. For the generation of reference films a spin-coater is available.