Additive Manufacturing (AM), better known as “3D-printing” is one of the most important technological evolutions of this moment.

Additive Manufacturing includes a whole series of techniques to build up an object layer by layer. Different techniques, such as stereolithography, selective laser sintering, fused deposition modelling and electron beam melting... allow to 3D print a varied choice of materials (from metals, plastics, ceramics, paper, food to even concrete). These techniques are steadily conquering the whole world, from high-end applications in aviation and aerospace and in the medical sector (prostheses) to 3D printers used at home.

Today, the technology is mainly used as such. However, Additive Manufacturing offers much more opportunities in combination with conventional production processes.

AM techniques are highly appropriate for mass customisation on a local scale and lead to a more efficient consumption of raw materials and stock management. Direct printing on objects saves an additional assembly step; ideas become reality; small series of specialised products become profitable.

Centexbel, Sirris and CPMT-Ugent are studying the integration of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) technologies in current production processes in a project called FDM4TP or Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) for Textiles and Plastics.

The aim of the FDM4TP project is to

  • communicate the possibilities of AM and to create small-scale demonstration cases to illustrate the many interesting possibilities and opportunities of direct printing on textile or plastic substrates
  • screen additional materials to assess whether they are suited to be applied as monofilaments in the FDM technique
  • to evaluate the adhesion properties of direct 3D-printing
  • to set up demonstrator cases according to the needs of participating companies

3D-printing on textile and plastic substrates