3D Screen Printing

Additive Manufacturing with 3D Screen Printing

Watch the 3D Screen Printing Process at Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden.

The three-dimensional screen printing process allows the economic production of components that are not realizable at all or only at very high costs compared to conventional methods. For example, 3D screen printing enables closed channels and undercuts with structural finenesses down to 60 µm. Thanks to the powder metallurgical approach, components can be manufactured near-net-shape from a wide range of industrially relevant materials.

The services of Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden initially include the analysis of your specific catalogue of requirements. Based on this, we develop possible manufacturing variants with you, which we then implement together in prototype components. The Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden and its network partners have access to the entire chain from the simulative design of thermal, mechanical and material parameters, through process development and characterization, to support in the subsequent commercial implementation.


The 3D Screen Printing Process

A printable suspension of metal powder and a binder is pressed in a screen printing process through a computer generated mask, followed by a hardening step. In the next step a layer-on-layer printing is repeated until a three-dimensional part is manufactured. A first heat treatment is applied to remove the organic binder; subsequently the remaining metal powder is sintered to structures with high precision and good mechanical stability. The residual minimal wall thickness and channel width amounts about 100 µm. In contrast, the maximal structure height may add up to a couple of centimeters. Hence, exceedingly high aspect ratios are feasible. The method enables the production of three-dimensional structures with horizontal apertures or closed channels.


By using a powder metallurgical route, screen printing structures can be produced from almost every sinterable powder. In addition to industrially relevant metals and alloys on the basis of, for example, steel, nickel, copper, tungsten, molybdenum and titanium, these include in particular hard metals such as molybdenum disilicide or tungsten carbide. Further material systems are also possible and can be developed in cooperation with the customer.

The near-net-shape process eliminates the limitation to formable and machinable materials, which means that the material can be tailored to the specific application. This represents a further advantage compared to conventional manufacturing processes.


Screen printing structures combine the advantages of metallic properties such as good thermal conductivity, high strength and high oxidation resistance with the advantages of functional shaping, fine structures and high production quantities. As a result, the range of applications for structures and materials extends from microsystems technology to lightweight construction and electrical engineering. Other possible applications are filter components, catalyst structures or thermal insulation elements.

The screen printing process is a robust and proven technology that allows the economic mass production of finely structured and complex components. With the expansion into the third dimension, Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden is using and developing the advantages of classical two-dimensional screen printing. Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden cooperates with the market leading suppliers of screen printing machines and screen printing accessories.