The development of new products is an iterative process involving design and visualisation, building prototypes, testing and evaluation. This is usually quite expensive and time consuming, especially if. unconventional or complex geometries are required. Worldwide there is a strong need for a Rapid Prototyping (RP) technique, which is able to produce prototypes, which have the technical specifications (integrity, accuracy and shape), appearance (colour, texture) and feel of the desired product. In addition, there is a strong need for Rapid Manufacturing (RM), of (complex) one-offs, e.g. teeth, and implants and small series, e.g. mock-ups for surgical practising, high-end tooling and technical parts.
The RAMA3DP consortium aims to develop a Three Dimensional Printing (3DP) technique for making very precise engineering parts. Current rapid prototyping machines produce models of which the varying dimensions, warpage and ovality are unacceptably bad: only 4 out of 20 parts are assessed to have identical quality. As compared to other RP techniques, 3DP is clearly the only RP technique with the potential to evolve into a wide-applicable rapid manufacturing technique.
The overall objective of the project is to develop a3DP technique via new mechanical, material and software methods in order to resolve the mechanical strength, reproducibility, accuracy and colour drawbacks of current RP methods, resulting in acceptable functional end parts and to 'prove' the applicability of the developed 3 DP prototyping/manufacturing technique by developing specific product applications/demonstrators. The consortium aims to introduce the to-be-developed 3DP prototyping/manufacturing technique in the medical modelling and industrial design industry, to increase the productivity compared to present state-of-the-art RP/RM technique by at least 50% and to decrease the rapid prototyping/manufacturing costs by at least 50 %.
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