3D Systems and Ems-Griltech have entered into a strategic partnership and announced the launch of the nylon copolymer DuraForm PAx Natural.
DuraForm PAx Natural should have similar properties to injection moulded plastics and feature high impact resistance with high elongation at break in any direction.
3D Systems and Ems-Griltech said the material was designed to be used with any commercially-available selective laser sintering (SLS) printer, regardless of the manufacturer, facilitating ease of integration into existing production workflows.
3D Systems is the exclusive distributor of this material which should allow the manufacturing of tough, lightweight, production-grade parts for applications such as orthotics, tooling handles, splints, and braces, ducting in rugged environments, living hinges, liquid reservoirs, and enclosures requiring high impact and high toughness.
DuraForm PAx Natural has been developed to print at a low temperature (i.e., 120°C), which should facilitate efficiencies in both printing and post-processing.
When compared to other nylon materials like PA-11 and PA-12, the two developers said, DuraForm PAx Natural enables users to save significant amounts of time, which not only helps service bureaus and manufacturers maintain their competitiveness, but also helps accelerate supply chains.
The low printing temperature of this material should enable high throughput, and its designation as a clean running material should result in low operator maintenance.
With the lower printing temperature, parts should be ready to ship the day after an order is received, as opposed to similar PA12-based parts, which would need another day before a part is ready to be shipped.
According to 3D Systems and Ems-Griltech, DuraForm PAx Natural features impressive long-term stability ratings of over five years indoor for mechanical properties and colour.
When parts are post-processed using vapour-honing, finished parts should have excellent translucency and smooth finish which should enhance the breadth of applications for which this material can be used.
In addition, the vapour-honed DuraForm PAx Natural material should move the elongation at yield capability past that of PA-11 and PA-12 materials.
This material should also have high reuse rates, with a 30% refresh rate recommended by the developers, which should help reduce waste and decrease production costs.
“We’re very excited to be able to collaborate with Ems-Griltech in a way that allows us to not only advance our innovation roadmap but also advance materials performance for the industry,” said Dr Edwin Hortelano 3D Systems senior VP, materials engineering and development.
“With DuraForm PAx Natural, we’re not only bringing a superior product with leading mechanical properties, we’re also delivering a new material for use with any SLS printing technology, which we intend to expand to other powder-bed fusion platforms. This is our first step in opening 3D Systems’ materials portfolio to the entire industry which allows a broader pool of manufacturers to realize the benefits of this unmatched material. We look forward to introducing more PAx-based materials among others in the future,” he went on.
“The Ems Group is an established worldwide leader in high-performance polymers for injection moulding and powder-based applications. Ems-Griltech has observed the powder bed fusion (PBF) additive manufacturing industry with keen interest over the last years, realizing that the technology is limited by the performance of the available materials,” said Simon Maier Ems-Griltech head of sales and marketing.
“Thus, together with 3D Systems, we decided to use our expertise to develop materials that exhibit excellent performance in PBF systems and at the same time show technical properties that match those of injection moulding. EMS-GRILTECH is excited about the capabilities of DuraForm PAx Natural and we’re looking forward to creating added value for the additive manufacturing industry with further material novelties in the future.”