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Industry News

Samsung Files Patent for Multicolor 3D Printing

2 Jul, 2015

According to Christine Dunne and Ron Gilboa's InfoTrends blog Jun 23, 2015:

A recent 3Dprint.com article reported that Samsung has filed a patent application for a multicolor 3D printing process that includes a method to control multicolor photocurable ink using an anti-intercolor bleed agent.

The technology would reportedly prevent the undesired bleeding of different colored polymer ink compositions prior to curing.

A copy of the patent appears to be listed in Google’s database of patents, including a drawing of the technology. It appears as though the patent was filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization, the European Patent Register, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Drawing Included in Samsung’s 3D Printing Patent Application Filing


Source: Google’s patent database

The proprietary design includes tanks for different colored polymer ink compositions (i.e., black, magenta, cyan, and yellow), an anti-bleed agent, printheads for each of these materials, and a UV light source to cure the materials during printing.

The anti-bleed agent would help ensure colors do not undesirably mix together (bleed). As indicated in the patent filing, when different colors are printed onto the same layer to be adjacent to one other, an intercolor bleeding phenomenon may occur—preventing a clear image.

The filing indicates the patent may be applied to a material jetting method using a thermal head or a piezo head. It also states that the UV light source may be an LED-type UV lamp—which consumes low power (due to low heat generation) and has a small size.

InfoTrends’ Opinion

While this patent has not yet been awarded, it signifies continued innovation in 3D materials for piezo-based 3D deposition technology. The undesirable bleeding of colors is a problem associated with material jetting that can significantly impact the quality of an end object. Should this invention help improve the quality of materials used with this technology, Samsung could help propel the industry forward and grow demand for 3D printed objects.

Only time will tell whether the patent violates any patents currently in effect (e.g., patents from Stratasys or 3D Systems), and whether the relevant bodies will decide to grant it. Another key question is whether Samsung would license the patent to third parties looking to improve their technology, or hold onto for its own purposes.

Samsung has revealed no plans to develop a 3D printer, but should Samsung decide to take this route a patent could be beneficial.

While there are many questions around this patent, there’s also an opportunity for it to contribute to the growing capabilities and commercialization of 3D printing technology. InfoTrends will eagerly track this news story as part of its ongoing 3D printing coverage and analysis.

For more information on InfoTrends’ coverage of the 3D printing market, please contact Scott Phinney at http://scott.phinney@infotrends.com. InfoTrends is particularly focused on viewing the market from the perspective of 2D printing players looking for new, complementary opportunities.

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