Continuous Liquid Interface Production – CLIP

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Although 3D printing is now possible using relatively small and low-cost machines, however, it’s still a fairly slow process. This is because 3D printers require a series of steps to cure, replenish, and reposition themselves for each additive cycle. Recent developments in additive manufacturing devised a process to effectively grow solid structures out of a liquid bath. The key to the process is the creation of an oxygen-containing “dead-zone” between the solid part and the liquid precursor, where solidification cannot occur. The precursor liquid is then renewed by the upward movement of the growing solid part. This approach made structures tens of centimeters in size that could contain features with a resolution below 100µm.

CLIP technology makes a range of features and applications possible for industries as varied as automotive, medical, and consumer electronics.

 

Applications

  1. Automotive

More than a century ago, Ford Motor Company’s iconic Model-T made automobiles affordable to the masses with assembly line production and efficient manufacturing. That legacy has continued, with ground-breaking research to design and develop the future of mobility and manufacturing by adapting CLIP additive manufacturing technology. Recently, Ford needed to address a major engineering issue when placing a V8 engine into a new vehicle body design. The vehicle’s design created an unreachable oil filler cap because the engine sat lower and farther back under the hood. The product engineering team realized the opportunity to quickly address the issue using CLIP technology. The team was able to rapidly design, prototype and manufacture an oil connector using rigid polyurethane and elastomer materials to access the oil fill tube without needing major redesigns to several components of the vehicle.

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  1. Dental

Dental and orthodontic labs provide time sensitive services to many dentists in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These labs are always looking for new technologies to make dental models that are: accurate, fast, and of high quality. For most of the labs, investing in new digital technologies is important while maintaining cost effectiveness and simplicity of the model-making process. Therefore, for any new technology to get adopted by these labs exceeding the above defined criteria is critical, which is achievable when using CLIP technology.

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  1. Consumer Electronic

Reputable companies such as Oracle are among the early adapters of CLIP technology, where Oracle required the material properties that CLIP technology provided, and in a production run of 10,000 board alignment brackets. Printing these with standard 3D technology would require months of printing, a total non-starter. CLIP technology ingenious solution to dramatically increase print speed and managed to produce the required boar alignment brackets in a fraction of the time it would have taken alternative 3D printers to complete the job.

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