We can’t say it enough: additive manufacturing is on the rise. And new technologies continue to emerge thanks to its great innovative and evolving nature.
Previous articles explained the PBF and FDM technologies and this time we shall look at the technology known as Polyjet (Material Jetting). The process is known for allowing the creation of objects that combine different materials and colors.
Material Jetting (MJ) is an additive manufacturing process that works in a similar way to 2D printers. In material jetting, a printhead (like the printheads used for standard inkjet printing) dispenses droplets of a photosensitive material that solidifies under ultraviolet (UV) light, building up a part layer by layer. The materials used in MJ are photopolymers (acrylics) that are in liquid form.
Material Jetting creates dimensionally accurate parts with a very smooth surface finish. Material Jetting offers multi-material printing and a wide range of materials (such as ABS-like, rubber-like and fully transparent materials). Thanks to these features, MJ can be considered a very attractive option for both visual prototyping and tool making.
Unlike other technologies, this technology provides more realism and accuracy to the parts. It also allows designers, engineers and industry professionals to address each customer’s needs rapidly and accurately.
This technology’s main potential lies in its materials: photosensitive resins that allow the development of very thin layers which, in turn, result in smooth finishes with complex details.
Through a wide range of materials and printers, this technology has managed to adapt to different applications. Regardless of the sector, this technology can improve process performance. Parts, prototypes and tools can be produced with high precision. Because of the layer resolution (0.014mm) that the technology allows, it is ideal for generating smooth surfaces and complex geometries with a wide variety of materials.
Its other great strength is its unique ability to print multi-material parts and assemblies, which allows us to print mixed parts and combinations of various resins with different mechanical and physical properties, all on the same model.
All these features allow us to create realistic prototypes to better assess future products. Therefore, it is possible to safely manufacture extremely complex parts with the finish of a high quality end product.
This technology is designed to meet different production needs and capacities. Above all, it is highly beneficial for those who need to produce precise parts for prototyping or low-volume production. Not forgetting that it also allows the creation of complicated and highly detailed designs that would not be possible with any other technology.
Simply put, Material Jetting additive manufacturing is all about:
- Creating prototypes that match the aesthetics of the final product.
- Producing molds, jigs, fixtures and fabrication tools.
- Building complex and detailed shapes.
- Incorporating the widest variety of colors and materials into a single model, enabling exciting levels of customisation.
Benefits and Applications
PolyJet technology offers an outstanding degree of detail with smooth surfaces and high precision.
Printing multi-material and multi-coloured parts is its main strength. The resulting material is called digital material and is used to create detailed prototypes that are close to the final model (temperature resistance, biocompatibility, stiffness or flexibility, etc.).
As mentioned above, Material Jetting’s main scope of application is the production of detailed and functional prototypes. It allows you to see, touch and feel the models in a way that is similar to a finished part.
In short, you can create:
- Accurately detailed visual prototypes with smooth surfaces that convey the aesthetics of the final product.
- Shape and suitability test prototypes
- Precise production patterns for plastic parts
- Elastomeric components with various hardness values
- Parts with a wide variety of colors and materials in a single model
Polyjet is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive technologies: learn about the projects we have developed using the Material Jetting technology and rely on our extensive experience to develop your project.