Nov 16, 2015 | By Benedict

Although filament can be found in a wide range of colors, with some 3D printers even able to print in multiple colors, many businesses and individual makers still require the use of a separate coloring process during the post processing stage of a print. Now, laser sintering specialist CIPRES has introduced its industrial “sm@rt e-coloring” system for 3D printed plastic parts. Whilst the German firm has offered laser sintering coloring services for the best part of a decade, it has now launched a new, fully automatic system in response to the rising demand for small series production of colored laser sintered parts, which should leave its competitors green with envy.

The new modular coloring system differs from the company’s existing e-coloring service as it operates fully automatically. This “smartness”, which the firm is understandably keen to emphasise, comes from an intelligent control system, which ensures an even coating of color and no waste. A perfectly even layer of color can be applied to a 3D printed plastic part, thanks to the system’s automatic cleaning of blanks before and after coloring. Colors can be switched quickly and easily, and the machine is even able to operate multiple color units simultaneously. The system’s intelligent system is beneficial both to the aesthetic of the colorful 3D printed parts, but also for a given client’s chequebook. Power and water usage is kept to an absolute minimum, which helps to keep costs low for series production.

The e-coloring technique employed by CIPRES is unlike many services offered by its competitors. The color from the intelligent machine is able to penetrate deep into the 3D printed plastic part, rather than simply laying upon its surface. This penetration and lack of surface buildup offers a big advantage: the geometric, mechanical and thermal properties of the 3D printed plastic parts remain unchanged, while an absolutely uniform color coverage is achieved. The applied color is lightfast, so products will not lose their vibrance when exposed to sunlight. It is also water, UV and abrasion resistant, as well as being sweat-proof. This final feature is invaluable when applying color to products such as jewellery and eyeglasses. Applying color to those kinds of products has often been seen as a gray area for manufacturers, as “leaking” color can be hazardous, as well as having a damaging effect on the product itself. One can imagine being left beet red from a leaky pair of cheaply colored sunglasses on a hot day, and the case of the blues that would follow.

In black and white terms, color applied with the sm@rt e-coloring system is strikingly permanent. Even the strongest of cleaning agents will not cause the color to run. CIPRES is offering comprehensive training packages with its products to help business get the very best out of the equipment. The company plans to give the green light to potential customers at some point in 2016, when it will start selling its sm@rt e-coloring systems.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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