There are two steps to make a diagnosis. From the technological specificities of the material to the observation of its performances.
Phase 1 – Analyzing the environment of the piece and setting a design brief
To evaluate the environment of the piece, we must first understand in which context it is used. Here are some of the factors we look at :
Location of the deterioration (impacts, type, weaknesses)
Conditions in which the piece deteriorated
Interactions with other components of the system
Phase 2 – Analyzing the properties of the original material
In-lab, we proceed to make a thorough examination of the original material, such as polymers, composites, alloys and ceramics. There we can observe :
The nature of the polymer by spectrophotometry IR
Its load presence by densitometry
Loading rate through a thermogravimetric analysis
Diffraction through X-rays
Thermic specificities by electric conductivity
In the design phase, we develop a strategy for the right modeling, the right material and the right printing process.
Phase 1 – Creating a 3D rendering through CAD (Computer Aided Design)
The 3D rendering is submitted to the dimensions of the piece and its functionality. There are two possible options to do so :
Modeling the piece by using a few functional dimensions. For example, to model a gear, we take its diameter and number of teeth to get the general geometry.
3D scanning, mainly used for unique and non-conventional pieces. This technology only works for full volumes and surfaces (no occlusions, cuts or undercuts which could affect the 3D rendering.
Phase 2 – Testing different cutting-edge materials to replace the original one
To pinpoint the material that will fit your piece in theory and in practice, we check with our Scientific Committee. They are experts in their field, who will base their recommendation on material taking into account the design brief set in the diagnosis phase as well as the environmental impact of its development. Most of the time, several materials can make the cut. We then draft pros and cons to help you make your choice.
Phase 3 – Selecting the adapted printing process
Beyond material, the solidity of the final piece also depends on the printing process we will use. Three different printing options are available to you :
Selective laser sintering
Phase 4 –Prototyping and feasibility studies
Here, we simply corroborate the design brief, to chisel the piece to your needs (geometrical tolerance, physical, mechanical and chemical properties). We usually make the following tests :
Dimensional analysis through digital microscope
Verification of the material after printing it
To be sure that the piece is perfectly aligned with your requirements, tailored tests can be made in our structural engineering laboratory in Lille. And finally, to make sure of the form of the printed design, its relevance and precision, we put the piece in place. We test it in action and make statement of odds.
We validate with you the most adapted technical solutions, for the materials and the printing process.
Then, we just print. As much as you need.
The production is taken care of by our Technological Hub, which encompasses three different printing technologies, in three different locations :
Centrale Lille : for high performance thermoplastics such as PEEK, PEI, TPU, and characterization tools.
ENSAM : for alloys and characterization tools.
Belgium Ceramic Research Center : for ceramics, and ceramic characterization tools.
Because printability means responsibility, we don't stop there.
To accompany you even further in the sustainable journey of your company, we've developed a durability research service. A first of its kind, it aims at quantifying the durability of your materials in their setting. So that you can qualify your 3D-printed pieces as functional and durable.
To ignite this process, we partner with expert laboratories to create real-life and numerical experiments :
Laboratoire de Mécanique, Multi-physique, Multi-échelles (Centrale Lille)
Laboratoire Procédés Ingénierie en Mécanique des Matériaux (ENSAM – Arts et Métiers - Paris)
Centre de Recherche de l’industrie Belge de la Céramique (CRIBC)
Printing today, and anticipating tomorrow.