The Selective Mask Sintering Technology (SMS)
The Selective Mask Sintering Technology - SMS - is a new way to produce parts with a nearly unlimited complexity.
The 3D CAD file is sliced into a lot of layers along the z-axes and the Sintermask machine builds the real part by melting layer for layer until the complete part is finished. This is done by lowering the platform by one layer thickness, adding a layer of build powder on the surface and melting the new surface in selective areas. This lowering-coating-exposure cycle is repeated again and again until all parts in the run are built. So, for a 50µm layer thickness a complete run with 800mm height needs 16,000 cycles. If you think speed is important - you are right.
There are some different technologies on the market to produce prototypes layer by layer. Some of them use a laser beam (point exposure), others use an array like ink jet printers (line exposure) and at least some systems use displays (layer exposure).
- point exposure
- line exposure
- layer exposure
There is no way to produce a part layer by layer in a higher speed than flashing a layer with a maximum of energy.
The uniqueness of SMS is more than the fact that it can expose the complete layer in one flash. The mask which is used in the SMS can withstand a lot of infrared energy. There is no mask generation technology for the moment which withstands only a percentage of the SMS mask. And furthermore, the SMS mask has a high resolution up to 10,000 x 15,000 dots.
- high energy
- high resolution
The Coating Device
Depending on the used material for the parts to be built it is quite hard to accumulate thousands of layers in a good quality and a high accuracy. A device which is acceptable for prototyping applications does not mandatorily perform well in a production solution. To do Additive Fabrication the requirements are much higher than for prototyping.
Therefore Sintermask licensed the Powder Shuttle Technology as a coating device in the SMS machine.
The Powder Shuttle can work very flexible with different powders and do the coating in highspeed. The system works with high quality and is suitable for layer thicknesses from 25 µm to 250µm. Furthermore, the Powder Shuttle Technology uses an additional cutter knife to temper the complete layer to the right temperature in parts of a second.
- high speed
- different powders
- high speed temperature set
The mask exposure and the Powder Shuttle Technology provides a very low cycle time for each layer. The mask for the new layer is generated in parallel during the coating. Depending on the used material and the machine options a layer needs 5 to 10 seconds to build.
The output of the machine ranges from 9mm/h to 180mm/h, depending on the layer thickness, material and machine options. For a typical part quality (100µm layer, Polyamid) 70mm/h build speed is typical.