Materials

Bally Ribbon Mills announces film infusion for 3D printing woven fabrics

Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM), a Pennsylvania-based woven material expert, has announced the release of film infusion capabilities for 3D continuous weaving of fibers.

A resin sheet or frozen film will be infused onto the 3D woven joint by the company. The new technology will eliminate the need to manually post-process the 3D-weaved joint with resin infusion, once it is delivered. This will save BRM’s customer machine and labor cost and the time to process resin infusion. 

BRM will be showcasing its woven materials at this year’s CAMX 2018, Dallas, Texas (15-18 October).

A Jacquard loom at Bally Ribbon Mills, Bally, Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Ken Kremer
A Jacquard loom at Bally Ribbon Mills, Bally, Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Ken Kremer

3D printing woven electronics

BRM specializes in manufacturing webbings (woven fabric) and tapes, commonly made from nylon, polyester, and Kevlar. The company has also introduced its proprietary E-WEBBINGS, conductive fibers which can be used to weave electronic parts within a fabric.  

BRM uses 3D continuous weaving to fabricate a range of net shapes. Its 3D Bias Loom is a computerized device which weaves 3D quasi-isotropic (0°, 90°, ±45°) near net shapes. The 3D woven joints are available in various complex net shapes such as,  ‘Pi – π,’ double ‘T’, and ‘H’.

BRM’s custom-made 3D woven joints can survive in high temperature and are resistant to abrasions. The lightweight webbings also lower fuel consumption and are ideal for aerospace and military application.

A selection of BRM's E-WEBBINGS made with conductive and non-conductive fibers. Image via Bally Ribbon Mills
A selection of BRM’s E-WEBBINGS made with conductive and non-conductive fibers. Image via Bally Ribbon Mills

NASA’s 3D weaving project

Due to their physical properties and cost-effectiveness, NASA has shown a lot of interest in 3D printing woven fabrics. Last year, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, explored 3D printing woven metal fabrics to be used in off-world missions.

This year in July, BRM was awarded Space Technology Award by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The company weaved a 3D material for NASA’s Heat Shield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET) project.

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Featured image shows a Jacquard loom at Bally Ribbon Mills, Bally, Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Ken Kremer

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