In a two-year joint research project, the Fogra, ILM and Fraunhofer IGD institutes investigated ways to improve color accuracy in 3D printing. The participating scientists led by Dr. Andreas Kraushaar, Dr. Philipp Urban and Simeon Geiger were able to achieve concrete improvements in three different control options.
In the case of RGB-controlled 3D printers, individual profile creation led to up to 30 percent higher color accuracy compared to the manufacturer profiles. For CMYK control, machine learning achieved a six-fold increase in accuracy. By simulating light propagation in the microstructure of the printed parts, the prediction accuracy was further increased.
According to the researchers, an important factor besides color was translucency, controllable by the amount of clear material. The ISO standard for describing this parameter by means of an alpha value was further developed and integrated into the color description.
In the future, this will make it possible to simulate and optimize volume scattering during the design process. Another goal is the development of a cost-effective concept for evaluating color quality, similar to the Fogra Media Wedge.
According to the participating institutes Fogra, ILM and Fraunhofer IGD, the results illustrate that targeted profiling and other measures can noticeably improve color quality in 3D printing. The more precisely the process parameters can be controlled, the more accurate the prediction and result.
This makes it possible to exploit the advantages of 3D printing, such as individualization and complex geometries, for color-critical applications such as product design or medical technology. The research thus makes an important contribution to the further integration of 3D printing processes into everyday industrial life.
Further information is available in the research reports on the Fogra website. The findings from the completed project are now to be explored in greater depth in a follow-up study.