There are four main stages in additive manufacturing: design, lamination, printing and post-processing. This last step is particularly important, regardless of the production technology used, as it gives the parts an optimal surface finish. In addition, many post-processing techniques are used to strengthen the physical and mechanical properties of parts. Take for example a new post-processing system that is expected to set a milestone in the additive manufacturing industry. The so-called “Delta” is a machine developed by startup Reinforce3D using their patented CFIP (Continuous Fiber Injection Process) technology. This solution makes it possible to reinforce 3D printed parts by injecting continuous fibers, making them lighter while allowing for higher mechanical performance.
Reinforce3D was born as a project within the Eurecat technology center located in Catalonia, Spain. But from 2022, an investment fund decided to invest and launched the startup we know today. Specifically, it was founded by BeAble Innvierte Kets Fund (BIKF), Eurecat and Marc Crescenti with the aim of developing a new post-processing solution for the 3D printing industry. Led by its CEO, Blanca Garo, the company has grown while maturing its technology in a short period of time. Thus, its industrial solution Delta, which uses the CFIP process, will be presented during Formnext 2023 in Frankfurt and aims to change the paradigm of post-processing as we have known it so far. To understand a little more about what this new system consists of, as well as about Delta applications and the performance of CFIP technology and the industries it targets, we tell you below all its properties and characteristics.
A closer look at Reinforce3D’s Delta and CFIP technology
The process of reinforcing 3D printed parts using CFIP represents a significant innovation in the additive manufacturing industry. What was once only a developing technology is now a reality with the advent of Delta. Instead of strengthening parts during the manufacturing process, as is common with conventional 3D printing, the CFIP system focuses on improving the properties of the part in a subsequent step. Specifically, this method involves injecting continuous fibers into the parts to dramatically improve their strength and performance. Instead of using short fibers, continuous fibers (such as carbon fiber) are injected into pre-engineered tubular cavities in the part. These fibers are carried by a resin that hardens, strengthening the structure of the part.
The main advantage of continuous fibers over short fibers is their ability to exponentially improve the performance of parts, instead of just incrementally improving them. In addition to carbon fiber, CFIP can also work with glass and aramid fibers. Additionally, Reinforce3D has plans to expand its use to natural fibers in the future. The team explains: “The Delta machine is an evolution of technology that adapts it to a fast-growing industry, automating the process and making it easier to use in production. In addition to strengthening the parts, CFIP allows the integral connection of various components by injecting fibers through them. This creates end-to-end fiber continuity, resulting in stronger bonds than those obtained with traditional methods such as adhesives.”
But what is the advantage of this method over conventional reinforcement during the manufacturing process? Well, the Delta machine stands out for its flexibility and compatibility with multiple additive manufacturing methods. With it, users can turn to more production-focused 3D printing technologies, such as HP’s Multi Jet Fusion, which work with thermoplastic polymers. Since it is compatible with these materials, it allows the user to use them and get optimal results without having to resort to more expensive ones. It is worth mentioning that the Delta machine not only works with plastics, but can also be applied to a wide range of additive manufacturing materials, including metals and ceramics.
Another remarkable aspect of the machine is that the amount of material used can be reduced. This is because hollow parts can be created that will be reinforced with continuous fibers to provide the same stiffness as if they were not hollow inside. The CFIP machine is easy to use thanks to a graphical user interface on a touch screen. In addition, its compact size makes it suitable for use in laboratories and workshops, allowing it to coexist with conventional 3D printers. It is also Industry 4.0 ready and can be integrated with automation and robotics systems to create an efficient end-to-end manufacturing process.
Strengthen Reinforce3D’s role in the 3D printing industry
Reinforce3D’s CFIP technology is expected to be a game-changing disruptive innovation in additive manufacturing. Its ability to significantly improve the performance of 3D printed parts, its flexibility in terms of materials, and its potential in various industries make it a promising technology for industrial-scale 3D printing. With the launch of Delta, the company hopes to open up a range of possibilities for users looking to offer advanced properties to their final 3D printed parts. Although this machine is expected to be commercialized from 2024, we already had an idea of its main features and what results we can expect from it.
In addition to the Delta machine, Reinforce3D also offers a consulting service for companies that want to adopt CFIP technology. This service covers various areas such as topology optimization, 3D printing process, injection molding, testing and cost estimation in industrialization. Whether you want to learn more about the Delta solution or wish to request a consulting service, you can visit the Reinforc3D website HERE.
What do you think of Reinforce3D and its CFIP technology? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.
*All photo credits: Reinforce3D