SPE sponsors Pollen AM printer for Ghent University

(13-10-2017) Commercial available printers use rolls of plastic filament to print. One of the few devices already on the market that allows to print with grains is the one from the French startup Pollen AM.

SPE sponsors the purchase of a Pollen AM printer by Ghent University

The Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) is the leading association for companies and research institutions in the plastics industry. 3D printing is also coming up strong here.

Most commercial available printers use rolls of plastic filament to print. These filament rolls must be purchased and are often individually linked to the supplier of the specific device, excluding a lot of flexibility for the researchers. To avoid these issues, it would be easier to directly choose your plastic grains instead of using filament. One of the few devices already on the market that allows to print with grains is the one from the French startup Pollen AM. With the support of SPE, Ghent University has recently been able to purchase such a printer.

Receive Pollen Check Pollen AM printer

Context

The research group CPMT (Center for Polymer and Material Technologies), headed by Prof. Ludwig Cardon and Prof. Kim Ragaert, has already been working on the 3D printing technique called ‘Fused Deposition Modeling’ (FDM) for a long time. This technique is what is most commonly used in desktop printers and is widely spread in schools and fablabs.

In the FDM technique a filament of a specific polymer is passed through a print head where it is melted and then placed, in a controlled manner, onto a building platform below. The print head moves in relation to the building platform, using computer control. This way a specific form in layers is built up.

The disadvantage of most current printers is that the types of polymers that you can get in filament form are still limited. Moreover, as mentioned, it is recommended to use only filaments supplied by the printer manufacturer to avoid problems during printing.

UGent has been working on the optimization of this technique for a long time. With the support of SPE, the CPMT group has now been able to purchase a commercial pellet printer that can even print with four materials at the same time.

This device will be combined with internal UGent developments around pellet printing and printing of composites. The whole will be used in projects with Flemish and European industry.

The official handover of the SPE check took place at the 200th anniversary of UGent and the first performance of the film "All Things Bakelite", telling the story of the Ghent chemist Leo Baekeland, the inventor of the bakelite material.

Whoever likes to see the device in action can take a look at www.pollen.am

Contact

Prof. Ludwig Cardon

Ludwig.Cardon@UGent.be

+32 478 22 43 35

Dr. Ilse Christiaens

Ilse.christiaens@ugent.be

+32 487 46 97 78

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