How Silicones Additive Manufacturing is a remarkable growth driver for production of soft materials

by Jean Marc Frances, Scientific & Technology Coordinator for Elkem Silicones R&D

In order to respond to the increasing demand for new materials, Elkem Silicones has developed a new series of customized silicones especially designed for the use by Additive Manufacturing (AM).

These silicone series are intended to be used by Liquid Deposition Modeling. A technology based on extrusion principles. Indeed AM opens up new horizons for the use of silicones as a novel high performance material and as other materials it will affect existing global value chains.

-From anatomical modeling to surgical planning, precision prosthetics and active and wearable devices silicones AM will enable and accelerate patient specific solution.
-From creating new alternatives in Prototyping to low volume/small manufacturing as well as the possibility to achieve highly complicated or customized designs AM combined with the properties of silicones will allow to respond to unmet needs.

In such 3D-print conference, will give examples of changing the value chain.
Indeed, AM can simplify inventory management of existing silicone objects, since it involves almost exclusively keeping silicone formulation in reserve or proximity accessible to 3D-silicone printers. As each object is produced on demand and in small volumes, a significant part of the costs associated with storage is saved, both for incoming materials and for outgoing parts. One can imagine also replacing broken or defective silicone parts immediately by on site 3D printing according manufacturer standardized AM process. In such a way to manage the local production of 3D printed silicone objects, we have also to consider a supply-chain closer to the end-user.

J.-M. Frances ; Proceedings of the 15th Rapid.Tech Conference Erfurt, Germany, 5 – 7 June 2018 p418-434
E.-J. Courtial, C. Perrinet, A. Colly, D. Mariot, J-M. Frances, R. Fulchiron, C. Marquette, Addit. Manuf. 2019, 28, 50



What drives you?
AM of elastomers and more specifically silicone elastomers.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
AM of silicone elastomers is relatively new and it is key to understand the different technologies available with advantages and drawbacks . It is also the opportunity to explain why and how AM of silicones pulls innovation.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Today / True elastomers can be obtained with Liquid deposition modeling AM
Tomorrow / UV elastomers will allow to make huge number of objects in a short time with high speed AM processing and low energy consumption.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Will Reduce stocks and shorten manufacturing time by production near to customers.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Accuracy and Standards for qualification of each set of production.

“Special quote”
In health care applications 3D printed silicones enhancing your life because we care.

About Jean Marc Frances

  • Jean-Marc FRANCES (Dr.):
  • Is graduated from the National School of Chemistry of Toulouse in 1981 and doctor engineer in Chemistry in 1983.
  • He spent his industrial career at Rhône-Poulenc and Rhodia before joining Bluestar Silicones in 2007 now Elkem Silicones since 2017. As Technology & Scientific Coordinator for Elkem Silicones R&D, he his director of Incubator projects fueled by Open Innovation.
  • In such position, one of the main industrial challenge is the development of the Additive Manufacturing processes with silicones

About Elkem Silicones

Elkem is one of the world’s leading suppliers of silicon-based advanced materials with operations throughout the value chain from quartz to specialty silicones.

Established in 1904, Elkem is one of the world’s leading companies in the environmentally responsible manufacture of metals and materials. Elkem is a fully-integrated producer with operations throughout the silicon value chain from quartz to silicon and downstream silicone specialties as well as specialty ferrosilicon alloys and carbon materials. Elkem consists of four business areas: Silicones, Silicon Materials, Foundry Products and Carbon.

Headquartered in Oslo, the company’s 27 production sites and extensive network of sales offices and agents around the world ensure proximity to customers and access to attractive end markets.

Elkem’s more than 6.200 skilled employees and significant R&D activities provide a solid basis for further technology-driven growth and optimisation.

On 22 March 2018 Elkem was re-listed on Oslo Børs.

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