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Bulgaria-based basalt fiber 3D-printing project is looking for investors
Source: Grainis

Bulgaria-based basalt fiber 3D-printing project is looking for investors

Grainis ltd. headquartered in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, offered a unique additive technology for basalt fibers and zirconia fibers. To weld fiber surfaces to each other they use an oxy-hydrogen plasma burner of low power.

Fiber passes through a nozzle and is immediately heated by the OH gas-plasma flame of a micro-burner, attached to the nozzle. The result is fiber’s surface partial melting in part of the second. Than the semi-melted fiber is laid and welded to the fiber beneath, following the computer-designed contour. Thus, layer after layer, a massive, extremely strong and computer-precised structure of any shape can be automatically built. Thanks to the basalt raw material and the low-power OH gas price, the cost of the 3D-printed end element will be very low and competitive.

The same approach is applied to 3D printing with zirconium fiber or to the production of a hybrid basalt-zirconium material. According to the authors, produced composite materials are 3 times lighter, 5 times stronger and 20 times cheaper than those of steel and can be used to produce rebar, beams, pipes, profiles, boards, panels, elements, tiles, road pavements, railway sleepers, car/ship/machinery bodies & parts, columns/poles, ropes, fabrics, insulations, etc.

Bulgaria-based basalt fiber 3D-printing project is looking for investors

Basalt fiber additive printing. Source: Grainis

To develop the technology further, Grainis intends to raise investments of 3 million euros. According to the preliminary calculations, the project funding’s repayment will be effected in 3-4 years.

Basalt fiber is increasingly used for additive printing of composite parts. Robotic arm Atropos won JEC Innovation Award 2017. And Impossible Objects’ 3D printer received RAPID + TCT Innovation Award.

The analytical companies believe that continuous fibers, including basalt fiber, will remain the most preferred fiber types for additive printing in the period to 2022.

About Olga Yurchenko

Olga Yurchenko
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