Halifax-based machine builder Heights has designed, built and delivered a new volume sublimation printer for Trichord (Perigon)
The new volume sublimation printer, manufactured by Heights, is currently undergoing field testing prior to commissioning and can be used to print a wide variety of 3D parts. The product is loaded into a tray with the printed film above, and the tray is then driven to one of three special ovens where it awaits its turn to be processed. The tray is loaded, the film softened and the product is then pushed into the film with a vacuum being applied to assure a full wrap. The product is then subjected to Infra-red light and heat for a predetermined period of time to ensure the ink is transferred from the film into the product at a molecular level. Once this sequence is completed, the tray is then ejected from the process oven and driven to an unloading station where both the film and the product are removed.
Heights states that because this is the first unit of its type worldwide, the absence of any prior experience in the field meant that the project needed to start with a completely blank sheet of paper, using careful mathematics combined with precision engineering required to deliver predicted performance and the productionising of the process.
The full process on this new machine, from concept through design and prototyping and into a completed build took just over 10 months. “It is a testament to the skills of our team here that we took the customers project from a concept to achieving a finished machine in a very tight timescale” says Heights CEO John Barrans. Heights envisages a variant of this machine being sold worldwide over the coming years, enabling products such as shoes, bottles, gaming products and sport equipment to be printed and personalised as required - revolutionising the sublimation 3d print market.