Topology optimized parts printed from high performance polymers to have great short-term potential – Interview with Kevin Eckes, Aerosint

Topology optimized parts printed from high performance polymers to have great short-term potential – Interview with Kevin Eckes, Aerosint

Kevin Eckes is R&D Engineer at Aerosint. He will speak about Selective powder deposition: bringing multi-material capability to industrial additive manufacturing during the 3D Printing Materials Conference, on Apr 17, at Brightlands Chemelot Campus, Geleen, The Netherlands.

What drives you?

I am motivated to make 3D printing a truly indispensable technology; an invaluable tool in nearly every industry. I think this can only happen by broadening the material range and processing capabilities as much as possible while reducing the cost and waste associated with 3D printing.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?

In the short term, topology optimized parts printed from high performance polymers will have great potential. In the longer term, multi-material, topology optimized parts will bring true optimization to manufacturing, from both materials and geometry perspectives.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?

Parts made from lighter, stronger materials are inherently more efficient in aerospace and automotive applications, where weight and efficiency are inversely related. In medicine, 3D printed implantable prostheses made from certain high performance materials are proving to be excellent in integrating both geometrically and biologically into the body, and some recent evidence shows that microstructured surfaces created by 3D printing are potentially actively antibiotic.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?

Inherent incompatibility between materials (in terms of processing conditions and properties) presents fundamental physical limitations to multi-material 3D printing. Are there truly enough materials with thermally and chemically compatible properties that a number of useful combinations can be realized? Probably, but there may be some unforeseen difficulties as well.

What do you hope people to learn from your presentation?

I hope my presentation gets people thinking beyond single-material additive manufacturing, and to begin to flex their multi-material design muscles!