Benefits of the software are reported to include faster and more efficient production and less material waste

November 9, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS— A new additive manufacturing software for printing resin on non-planar surfaces reportedly enables manufacturers to 3D print durable, flexible materials directly onto substrates of any shape, including metal, plastic, and textiles.

The result, without post processing or assembly, is industrial-strength adhesion between the printed material and the substrate, according to Chromatic 3D Materials, the 3D printing technology provider that launched the software in November.

“Hyperbolic print paths are challenging for existing technologies,” said Chromatic 3D Materials CEO Cora Leibig, Ph.D., in the release. “ChromaScan easily adapts a flat print path for printing on 3D surfaces. This opens up a world of design possibilities, as well as more streamlined, cost effective, and sustainable manufacturing for our customers.”

The software scans an object placed on the print bed. Then it manipulates the print path, yielding a high-quality print that conforms to the surface below. The print application is precise, with higher pass rates and better print quality, which improves overall production yields, according to Chromatic.

When using ChromaScan, manufacturers can reportedly reduce or eliminate post processing and assembly with additional materials, such as adhesives and stitching. Benefits include faster and more efficient production, fewer labor and materials costs, and reduced environmental footprint with less material waste, the company said in the release.

ChromaScan is said to be suitable for a wide range of consumer and industrial applications. Chromatic said it used ChromaScan to 3D print trackpads for a 50-year-old antique tractor with a unique tread that was difficult to source. The company printed rubber pads directly onto metal plates with protruding bolts. The new pads offered the same abrasion and durability of the original parts, according to Chromatic.

Other potential uses for the software include footwear and apparel. The software makes it possible to 3D print a shoe sole directly onto a last, or to 3D print aesthetic or functional elements onto finished clothing, the company said.

ChromaScan software is available for purchase as an add-on to the RX-AM™ materials and technology platform for reactive extrusion additive manufacturing with urethane elastomers. The platform is designed for industrial use and commercial-scale production, the company said.

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