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Case Study

HZG Studies Hybrid Structures with 3D Printing Technology

Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht focuses on development and testing of especially lightweight and advanced engineering materials which when used in industry can considerably improve the effectiveness of energy use in production processes. An overriding goal of the institute is to conserve raw materials and energy resources.

The development of new materials and fabrication techniques has become a matter of success for different industries, such as transportation, medical appliances and civil engineering. The development of new lightweight alloys, such as aluminium, magnesium and titanium, as well as advanced polymer-based materials, such as Fiber Reinforced Plastics (FRP) and nanocomposites, has changed the current paradigm of lightweight constructions. In this way, alternative and advanced joining technologies are required to join or manufacture multi-materials structures.

Therefore, innovative techniques were developed at Helmohltz-Zentrum Geesthacht, such as FricRiveting, Injection Clinching Joining (ICJ), Friction Spot Welding/Joining (FSpW/J) and Ultrasonic Joining. These technologies have been devised in order to try to overcome or attenuate the limitation found in current polymer-metal joining methods. The AddJoining concept – most recent HZG’s invention (patent application number DE 10016121267.9) – uses the principles of joining and polymer additive layer manufacturing to manufacture layered metal-polymer hybrid structures. One of devices being used for the development of AddJoining is the VSHAPER PRO.

The AddJoining manufacturing route, when creating layered hybrid structure is executed in 6 steps: metallic substrate clamping, material feeding through extruder head, first polymer layer, second polymer layer, removing the clamping and final part – explains Prof. Dr. Sergio Amancio from HZG.




Example of AddJoining manufacture route using fused deposition modelling to manufacture layered hybrid structure.
(Picture is a courtesy of Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany)
When searching for the right 3D Printer, Scientists from Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht were seeking flexibility to use a variety of parameters in order to improve the mechanical performance as well as being able to print with engineering thermoplastics especially PEEK and PEI.

VSHAPER PRO is the best available 3D Printer able to print high-performance polymers – says Rielson Falck, PhD candidate from Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht in the Group of Prof. Dr. Sergio Amancio, who uses the printer in his research work.




Single-lap joint combining metal and polymer developed based on AddJoining concept with VSHAPER PRO 3D Printer.
(Photo is courtesy of Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany)
Scientists from Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht under guidance from Prof. Dr. Sergio Amancio are currently working on the development of welding and joining processes and applications of metal-polymer hybrid structures and large scale 3D Printing based on their own methods of processing materials.

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