South African Journal of Industrial Engineering
On-line version ISSN 1012-277X
BAIER, O. and WITT, G.. Functional components produced by multi-jet modelling combined with electroforming and machining. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2014, vol.25, n.2, pp. 182-192. ISSN 1012-277X.
In fuel cell technology, certain components are used that are responsible for guiding liquid media. When these components are produced by conventional manufacturing, there are often sealing issues, and trouble- and maintenance-free deployment cannot be ensured. Against this background, a new process combination has been developed in a joint project between the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Center for Fuel Cell Technology (ZBT), and the company Galvano-T electroplating forming GmbH. The approach is to combine multi-jet modelling (MJM), electroforming and milling in order to produce a defined external geometry. The wax models are generated on copper base plates and copper-coated to a desirable thickness. Following this, the undefined electroplated surfaces are machined to achieve the desired measurement, and the wax is melted out. This paper presents, first, how this process is technically feasible, then describes how the MJM on a 3-D Systems ThermoJet was adapted to stabilise the process.In the AiF-sponsored ZIM project, existing limits and possibilities are shown and different approaches of electroplating are investigated. This paper explores whether or not activation of the wax structure by a conductive initial layer is required. Using the described process chain, different parts were built: a heat exchanger, a vaporiser, and a reformer (in which pellets were integrated in an intermediate step). In addition, multiple-layer parts with different functions were built by repeating the process combination several times.