“Discover Inkbit’s UV Resistant TEPU 50A: The Perfect Material for Outdoor Applications”


Inkbit has announced a new material that could be more significant than it appears at first glance.

The firm has designed a unique 3D printing technique known as “Vision Controlled Jetting“, or “VCJ”. This method is designed for high-volume production 3D printing and it’s fascinating to watch it in operation.

VCJ includes a large toolhead that swings back and forth quickly over a considerable build volume, selectively dropping tiny droplets of materials from up to four different sources with each oscillation.

The major challenge with VCJ is to maintain perfect alignment of the large toolhead and inkjets during its rapid movement. This problem appears to be resolved, potentially owing to the “vision” aspect in the name of the process.

VCJ printing usually manufactures an extensive 500 x 250 x 250 block of components submerged in wax, their support medium. The process involves heating the block to melt the wax, thereby freeing all the parts. The parts are noteworthy for their high resolution and dimensional precision which makes them a quality production machine.

Now let’s talk about the new material: TEPU 50A, a “soft-medium durometer elastomer”. This is a pliable material, the second for Inkbit in their apparatus. As per Inkbit’s description for the material:

“TEPU 50A is a thiol-ene polyurethane-based elastomer having a Shore 50A durometer and low compression set, known for its splendid UV stability and strong chemical compatibility. It is an addition to the Inkbit Vista ecosystem, formulated as per the customer desires for a Shore 45-55A elastomer that would be able to precisely produce intricate detail in an array of geometries with brilliant surface finish and elastic resilience.”

The corporation had earlier declared a TEPU 30A material, however, TEPU 50A seems to be UV resistant. Therefore, it is appropriate for outdoor uses where it can be left under the sun without any risk of degradation.

This opens up numerous possibilities for multi-material parts. For example, a print on the Inkbit system could comprise both hard and soft components. This could include things like grippers, handles, or flexible flaps.

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Just think of the vast geometric possibilities when combining rigid and soft materials within a single print. It is feasible that certain “end products” could be produced with VCJ without the need for subsequent assembly.

The new material should attract great interest from the automotive sector, where countless gaskets and seals are routinely created. It would allow car manufacturers to build such parts with unusual shapes that are generally not achievable through traditional manufacturing methods.

I suspect that Inkbit may be planning to develop additional advanced materials that they could announce in the future. The recent announcement of TEPU 50A could signal another advancement on this trajectory. Eventually, VCJ operators might have a wide array of materials to choose from, enabling them to fabricate huge volumes of parts containing up to three different materials.

Via Inkbit

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