Danish advanced manufacturing company, AddiFab has announced it has been awarded an EU grant of 1.6 million Euro to boost the commercial readiness of its Freeform Injection Molding technology.
The funding has been provided under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme’s SME Instrument which supports innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready for global markets.
Freeform Injection Molding has been developed to combine the benefits of additive manufacturing, such as short lead times and design freedom, with the familiar materials and scalability offered by injection moulding. AddiFab’s technology is based on a patent-pending Sacrificial Thermoplastic Injection Moulding (STIM) platform which is said to deliver complex injection-moulded metal and ceramic components in just 24 hours.
The process works by 3D printing a mould using a resin-based process which is then cleaned and post-cured. The printed mould is filled using conventional injection moulding equipment and materials and then dissolved, leaving the final part which can be trimmed to remove any inlets and outlets.
STIM was first tested in a project involving two Danish companies and the Technical University of Denmark. The project, named 3DIMS (3D Printing Integrated Manufacturing System), was used to successfully deliver samples of ceramic injection-moulded parts in under a week and also trialled a number of metal alloys. With this new funding, the STIM-MC (Sacrificial Thermoplastic Injection Moulding-Metal & Ceramic) project will take lessons learned from those initial tests to improve the technology’s usability and scalability. The company also plans to work with strategic partners on a number of test cases that will demonstrate the commercial readiness of STIM for metal and ceramic injection moulding.