Five projects with Pennsylvania universities have received funding through the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program to advance binder-jet 3D printing in collaboration with The ExOne Company. The five projects will help ExOne resolve challenges related to printing irregular and porous powders, as well as sintering and identifying parts that can best benefit from binder-jet 3D printing, among other projects. The company’s binder-jetting technology is a method of 3D printing in which an industrial printhead deposits a liquid binder onto a thin layer of powdered particles, layer by layer, until an object is formed. ExOne’s systems currently 3D print more than 20 metals, ceramics and composite materials.

Here are the five projects selected.

  • Carnegie Mellon University: This project will work to optimize binder-jet printing parameters and densification of irregularly shaped powders, such as those experiencing attrition.
  • Carnegie Mellon University with Kennametal and Ansys: This project aims to create a software tool that allows users to upload a CAD file of a large-scale system and automatically identify components and subsystems for consolidation and optimization with binder-jet 3D printing. This will allow manufacturers to minimize production costs and lightweight existing parts while preserving functionality.
  • The Pennsylvania State University: This project aims to develop a new class of ceramic materials using binder-jetting technology that will provide a unique combination of high-temperature stability, corrosion resistance and toughness for a wide range of applications.
  • University of Pittsburgh with Ansys: This project aims to develop a computational tool for simulating the deformation and porosity resulting from the sintering of binder-jet 3D-printed parts made of 316L stainless steel powders.
  • Villanova University: This project investigates how to best wet porous particles with binder and generate guidelines or parameters for this form of 3D printing.

In all, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) awarded $2.8 million to Pennsylvania universities for 43 projects to advance manufacturing technology projects. According to ExOne, the projects funded by this program will help it unlock the commercial and sustainability value that binder-jet 3D printing has to offer, such as delivering lighter-weight vehicles that are more fuel-efficient.