Charlotte Delaere June 2, 2014

Materialise in the Czech Republic celebrated its 10 year anniversary since it first opened its doors in 2004 as a 3D Printing factory.  

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But what happens inside this pink building? The answer is vacuum casting and ColorJet Printing. Your reaction might very well be “What are those technologies?”

Materialise Czech Team

What is Vacuum Casting? 

Watch our short video to learn all about vacuum casting and how a 3D Printing factory works:

Basically, vacuum casting is a process to make small series of high-quality plastic components. After making a stereolithography master, a silicone mold is made based on that master. Once the mold is dry, it can then be filled with another material to make a cast, most often polyurethane (called PU in the image below).

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Once the part is cast, it can then be finished by Materialise’s highly-skilled finishing team.   

What is ColorJet Printing? 

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ColorJet Printing is a process where a roller places a thin layer of powder on the build platform, and there is an inkjet printing head that moves across the powder, depositing a liquid binding material at specific locations. This process continues whereby a thin layer of powder is placed over the previous layer and binds the powder together. This method of printing allows for a wide-range of colors and materials, including ceramics.

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Materialise’s team in the Czech Republic has an expertise in printing ceramics. After the object is printed using the process described above, it is placed in a drying oven to increase the strength of the model. Then, the model is extracted from the powder bed and excess powder is removed. The part is then fired in an oven to become even stronger. Here is a diagram showing the entire ColorJet Printing process for ceramics:

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Once this process is completed, the object is ready to be finished with a high-quality glaze. To do this, the object will be fired twice with a glaze put on it before each. The final result reveals a shiny smooth glaze coating.

Success with Materialise 10 Year in the Czech Republic Conference

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It has already been 10 years since Materialise opened doors in the Czech Republic. To celebrate this occasion, we organized a Materialise customer conference dedicated to all our technologies on May 22nd and 23rd. The event was a time to express thanks to our customers for being with us and also to attract them for even more cooperation. About 40 guests participated, and we welcomed important customers from automotive and industrial design fields. The conference itself consisted of many interesting presentations. The opening speech was given by Svatopluk Dvorak, Managing Director of Materialise Czech Republic, followed by impressive presentations of Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise; Bart Van der Schueren, Vice-President, Materialise; Stef Thulie Sales Manager, RapidFit+; Jean-Francois Blanchard, Axson and ended with a very inspiring presentation by Mr. Prihoda, Project Engineer Bang&Olufsen. 

During the whole conference, many professionals got to meet and discuss prototyping and printing for a series. There was a diverse group of people, from those who have come to rely on 3D Printing, to Materialise’s representatives to many other industrial professionals. It wouldn’t be a celebration without some fun, would it? Once the conference reached the end we, together with all our guests, took a tour through the oldest and largest wine cellars in the Czech Republic. We not only tasted some very fine Czech wines, but we also tried many specialty Czech dishes.

On the morning of May 23rd, we continued by giving our company tour, where all guests were given a unique chance to see our factory not only from the pink side but also from the inside. In addition, our guests gave us a chance to discuss their projects where Materialise can help in close future and find more opportunities for building strong long-term partnerships. By May 27th we have already received a lot of positive feedback from the event. Therefore, we can call this event a “SUCCESS”.

Interested in vacuum casting? Click here to learn more! Our design and engineering services can help you out in planning your next vacuum casting project. To learn more about Materialise’s Czech office, please click here.

Categories Industries