Foxconn to develop Binder Jet Metal 3D printing with Triditive – 3DPrint.com

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The Spanish startup Triditive will, according to 3D printing media network, is teaming up with Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn to develop a new metal binder jetting technology. Foxconn, of course, is one of the largest electronics manufacturing services companies in the world, producing everything from Apple’s iPad to Amazon’s Kindle to nearly every current Nintendo console.

Despite its Taiwanese headquarters, the company is the largest private employer in the People’s Republic of China. It was also frequently criticized for more than a decade, due to reported working conditions at many of its factories. Probably the most notorious incident involving Foxconn was a series of worker suicides in 2010, many of which occurred at the company’s industrial park in the city of Shenzhen, often called “China’s Silicon Valley.” Although it is known to use additive manufacturing (AM) for prototyping, this is apparently the first news that Foxconn is developing its own AM technology.

Triditive’s AMCELL 8300 printer is notable for being, as the company puts it, “the first and only major 3D printer solution capable of mass producing metal and polymer parts.” The machine is highly automated for high throughput production. This means automatic calibration, as well as loading and unloading build platforms, and a conveyor belt to eject completed prints into a storage system.

A rendering of several AM CELL 3D printers.

Although Triditive specializes in bonded metal (and polymer) extrusion machines, bonded metal extrusion and metal bond jetting result in parts on somewhat similar principles. Both processes produce components that must be finished by sintering in a furnace. The difference is that while extrusion printers use filaments containing metallic particles, binder jetting systems deposit liquid binders onto beds of powders – including metals – to assemble these latter materials, layer by layer.

Generally, the difference in technique makes extrusion printers more ideal for desktop applications and prototyping. Binder jetting, on the other hand, is better suited to large-scale, mass production. However, the fact that Triditive has succeeded in developing systems capable of mass producing metal parts by extrusion means that the company has mastered the execution of the large-scale sintering phase, which can make the company an attractive partner. from Foxconn outlook. Triditive will work with Tecnalia, an R&D organization also located in Spain, and the renowned German company Fraunhofer, to develop binders for the new system. It should also be noted that Triditive is backed by Stanley Black & Decker, which has steadily increased its presence in the AM industry.

Little is known about the collaboration yet, but it’s easy to assume that Foxconn could eventually use AM to automate at least a small but significant part of its huge output engagements. (Michael Molitch-Hou of 3DPrint.com has been speculating on similar topics for some time already.) But the timeline, as anyone who follows 3D printing news knows, is everything. While we’re probably still a long way from Foxconn iPhones mass-producing with 3D printers, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly this particular project develops and how long it will be before Foxconn – or any of its major partners or competitors – don’t make any more news about 3D printing.

Images courtesy of Triditive

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