Why VLM™?

This never-seen-before technology has been derived to specifically address BCN3D’s vision of unlocking manufacturing autonomy, where all manufacturers can experience full control over every stage in their production processes with AM solutions.

Devised to provide manufacturing autonomy to the industry, VLM™ is the first additive manufacturing technology to simultaneously accomplish the three main pillars of providing superb part performance, a high production capacity, and accessible and frictionless operation.

Gain full control over every stage of your production processes

VLM™ Technology Adoption Program:
Test it out for yourself

We’ve created a VLM 3D printing applications center, complete with dedicated AM specialists,
and a program for innovators to be the first to try this breakthrough technology.

VLM™ (Viscous Lithography Manufacturing) is a patented breakthrough lithography-based 3D printing process that laminates thin layers of high viscosity resins – 50x times more viscous than standard market resins – onto a transparent transfer film to produce high-performance parts extremely quickly and in an affordable and scalable way.

How does VLM™ work?

First, the resin is picked up by a roller, laminated to the underside of a transparent film, then transferred to the printing area. The build plate rises to come into contact with the recently laminated resin at the desired layer thickness. The UV light engine cures the resin solely in the specified area to create the new layer of the object to be printed. The build plate retreats, peeling the recently cured layer from the film, while the unused resin is recovered and recirculated up to the reservoir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multi-material 3D printing

VLM™’s mechanical system allows the resin to be laminated from both sides of the film, making it possible to implement strategies to speed up printing times or even to combine different resins to get multi-material parts and easy-to-remove support structures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superb Part Performance

VLM™ is capable of working with resins 50 times more viscous than standard ones. Without a strict low viscosity constraint, the chemist obtains the freedom to formulate as a whole new set of ingredients and modifiers can be added to achieve the desired effect on thermal and mechanical properties.

  • 3x

    Impact resistance

    Compared to industry-standard resins
  • +200%

    Tear strength

    Compared to industry-standard resins
  • Mechanical properties

    As viscosity is not a problem for VLM, these resins can obtain triple the number of impact resistance for rigid materials compared to equivalent standard formulations. A large amount of impact modifiers can be added in high-viscosity resins to reach an optimal filler loading and take advantage of mechanisms such as crack deflection.

  • Elastomeric properties

    Free from viscosity limitations, VLM resins can include a high fraction of oligomers to obtain a loosely crosslinked polymer network. This structure can flexibly withstand mechanical stresses, like industrial-grade molded elastomers, and improves mechanical properties, with a 200% increment in tear strength compared to current industry-standard formulations.

  • Biocompatibility properties

    By raising the viscosity levels, the chemist has the chance to add more ingredients to achieve the desired effect. For example, improved aging resistance and stability and lower volatility often translate into a safer product more likely to be certified as biocompatible.

    • Mechanical properties

      As viscosity is not a problem for VLM, these resins can obtain triple the number of impact resistance for rigid materials compared to equivalent standard formulations. A large amount of impact modifiers can be added in high-viscosity resins to reach an optimal filler loading and take advantage of mechanisms such as crack deflection.

    • Elastomeric properties

      Free from viscosity limitations, VLM resins can include a high fraction of oligomers to obtain a loosely crosslinked polymer network. This structure can flexibly withstand mechanical stresses, like industrial-grade molded elastomers, and improves mechanical properties, with a 200% increment in tear strength compared to current industry-standard formulations.

    • Biocompatibility properties

      By raising the viscosity levels, the chemist has the chance to add more ingredients to achieve the desired effect. For example, improved aging resistance and stability and lower volatility often translate into a safer product more likely to be certified as biocompatible.

      Prodrive pits end-use parts created with VLM™ technology against treacherous terrain

      Prodrive is enrolled in the Technology Adoption Program. Apply here.

      World-leading motorsport and advanced technology company Prodrive trusts parts made with VLM™ for its cross-country rally cars. For this design and manufacture of high-performance components, VLM™ provides engineering materials, complex geometries, and good surface finish.

       

      Read the case

      High Production Capacity

      VLM™ is a resin-based technology that, by using a light source consisting of UV light and an LCD screen, is an affordable and productive solution. It delivers a constant time per layer, regardless of whether we are printing one or 100 parts at once.

      • Speed

        Best-in-class fabrication layer time

        Speed

        Best-in-class fabrication layer time
      • Volume

        Big printing surface through an LCD screen

        Volume

        Big printing surface through an LCD screen
      • AFFORDABLE

        Unparalleled cost per part

        AFFORDABLE

        Unparalleled cost per part
      • Speed

        Within the world of 3D printing, there are 3 main layer fabrication strategies that directly affect printing time. Rastering technologies must raster the entire layer – the more parts in the build plate, the longer it takes. In printhead jetting, the printhead must move above the print area accordingly to print a layer.

        VLM uses image flashing: As the light source flashes, the whole build plate is cured. The layer time is independent of the number of parts in the build plate.

      • Volume

        For scaling up, rastering technologies aren’t the best, since the more parts you need, the longer it takes. For printhead jetting solutions, their technical complexity and requirement for a tight environment control mean scaling up is expensive. 

        With image flashing technologies, especially ones such as VLM with an LCD, scaling up couldn’t be easier – all you need is a bigger screen!

      • Affordable

        This chart represents the manufacture of 7000 positioning fixtures for Saint Gobain. 

        While FFF had an acceptable cost per part, the lead times were not feasible. Powder-based technology offers a competitive price and lead time, but a downside of a huge initial investment. Commercial resin alternatives entail much higher costs and a lead time 3 times longer than powder-based technology.

        VLM’s low entry barrier, big printing volume, and high throughput mean it has the lowest cost per part and a very competitive lead time.

        • Speed

          Within the world of 3D printing, there are 3 main layer fabrication strategies that directly affect printing time. Rastering technologies must raster the entire layer – the more parts in the build plate, the longer it takes. In printhead jetting, the printhead must move above the print area accordingly to print a layer.

          VLM uses image flashing: As the light source flashes, the whole build plate is cured. The layer time is independent of the number of parts in the build plate.

        • Volume

          For scaling up, rastering technologies aren’t the best, since the more parts you need, the longer it takes. For printhead jetting solutions, their technical complexity and requirement for a tight environment control mean scaling up is expensive. 

          With image flashing technologies, especially ones such as VLM with an LCD, scaling up couldn’t be easier – all you need is a bigger screen!

        • Affordable

          This chart represents the manufacture of 7000 positioning fixtures for Saint Gobain. 

          While FFF had an acceptable cost per part, the lead times were not feasible. Powder-based technology offers a competitive price and lead time, but a downside of a huge initial investment. Commercial resin alternatives entail much higher costs and a lead time 3 times longer than powder-based technology.

          VLM’s low entry barrier, big printing volume, and high throughput mean it has the lowest cost per part and a very competitive lead time.

          Saint Gobain’s manufacture of 7000 positioning fixtures in 7 days and annual savings of 70.000€ with VLM™ technology

          Saint Gobain is enrolled in the Technology Adoption Program. Apply here.

          Tier 1 automotive glass manufacturer Saint Gobain was looking to increase its rate of efficiency in robotic processes throughout its production line and found VLM™ to be by far the best option for this large batch production.

          Read the case

          Accessible and Frictionless

          • SOLUTIONS UNDER 50K€

            SOLUTIONS UNDER 50K€

          • ZERO WASTE

            ZERO WASTE

          • EASY OPERATION

            EASY OPERATION

          • Solutions under 50K€

            We believe that unlocking manufacturing autonomy isn’t just for Fortune 500 companies but all kinds of businesses and that VLM is the way to do so. VLM-based solutions will be under 50.000 euros with a compact footprint, no dedicated space, or critical infrastructure.

          • Zero waste

            Other alternatives heat the resin or use biocomponent formulations, which can make the pot life dramatically shorter. What’s more, a lot of resin must be disposed of, meaning costs rise. VLM gets rid of this issue by operating at room temperature and not requiring mixing. All the resin eventually becomes a printed part.

          • Easy operation

            Other printers require a huge vat to be filled, meaning high costs, a hassle to clean and even a two-person operation to install. With powder-based technologies, the powder is explosive and toxic, entailing a dedicated ventilated space. 

            VLM overcomes both of these obstacles with its use of high viscosity resins, requiring no vat or dedicated space. The cleaning is straightforward and changing materials takes a matter of seconds.

            • Solutions under 50K€

              We believe that unlocking manufacturing autonomy isn’t just for Fortune 500 companies but all kinds of businesses and that VLM is the way to do so. VLM-based solutions will be under 50.000 euros with a compact footprint, no dedicated space, or critical infrastructure.

            • Zero waste

              Other alternatives heat the resin or use biocomponent formulations, which can make the pot life dramatically shorter. What’s more, a lot of resin must be disposed of, meaning costs rise. VLM gets rid of this issue by operating at room temperature and not requiring mixing. All the resin eventually becomes a printed part.

            • Easy operation

              Other printers require a huge vat to be filled, meaning high costs, a hassle to clean and even a two-person operation to install. With powder-based technologies, the powder is explosive and toxic, entailing a dedicated ventilated space. 

              VLM overcomes both of these obstacles with its use of high viscosity resins, requiring no vat or dedicated space. The cleaning is straightforward and changing materials takes a matter of seconds.

              VLM™ Technology Adoption Program:
              Test it out for yourself

              We’ve created a VLM 3D printing applications center, complete with dedicated AM specialists,
              and a program for innovators to be the first to try this breakthrough technology.

              Material Partners

              Capitalizing on the singularities of VLM™ is key to obtaining properties otherwise unreachable with existing resin-based 3D printing techniques. For this reason, we are partnering with best-in-class resin manufacturers Arkema and Henkel.

              Logo Arkema

               

              “We have worked alongside BCN3D by adapting our existing products to their needs and supporting them closely. Together, we have built a road map to develop best-in-class materials and respond effectively to a broad list of specifications, while being strongly driven by use cases and real-life projects.”

              Hélène Egret, Europe 3D Market Manager at Arkema

               

              Logo Henkel

               

              “VLM removes the limitations of viscosity and allows the printing of a wide range of new materials which we have witnessed firsthand over the last few years of collaboration. We look forward to seeing the tremendous impact VLM technology brings to the AM market together with new Henkel Industrial resins.”

              Sam Bail, Director of 3D Printing & Partnerships at Henkel.