From 3D printing to digital manufacturing (Analytical Chemistry Seminar, Oct. 9, 2020)

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3D printing, digital manufacturing, Megahertz Inkjet Printing, Microheater Array Powder Sintering (MAPS), Cooperative 3D Printing


While 3D printing has made significant strides over the past decades, its scalability has become a major barrier for it to become a mainstream digital manufacturing method for high volume production. Zhou introduces three different approaches that have been researched by the AM3 Lab at the University of Arkansas for scalable 3D printing for digital mass production.

The first is a cooperative 3D printing platform consisting of a swarm of 3D printing robots and other types of robots that work cooperatively to print and assemble large complex parts. The second is microheater array powder sintering (MAPS), a new additive manufacturing process that uses a microheater array as the energy source to sinter powder particles parallel. In contrast to selective laser sintering that uses lasers as energy source, MAPS provides a much more scalable and energy efficient way for selective sintering. The third approach is to improve the printing speed of inkjet by increasing printing frequency of inkjet from ~10 kHz to potentially ~1 MHz.


Zhou directs the AM3 Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, with a research focus on scalable digital manufacturing technologies. He is also the co-founder and CTO of AMBOTS Inc., a startup for commercializing the swarm 3D printing and assembly (SPA) technology.

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