Solvay has entered a research collaboration agreement with Aerosint to develop an economically viable SLS 3D printing process for specialty polymers (or high-performance polymers).
Specialty Polymers such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) have the potential to open new avenues for additive manufacturing in demanding applications, but their adoption with key powder fusion technologies such as selective laser sintering (SLS) remains limited today.
SLS machines that can process high temperature resistant polymers are carefully designed and assembled with sophisticated and expensive components. However, at present there is a significant operating cost disadvantage during the build – the excessive waste of up to ninety percent of ‘used-but-unfused’ powder,
Our patented spatially selective multiple powder deposition system under development, incorporates a non-fusible support material in each layer where expensive high-performance polymers are not required, thereby drastically reducing material waste to very low levels.Edouard Moens, Managing Director Aerosint.
Solvay has been cooperating with Aerosint for over two years supporting the development of their game-changing technology with advanced material, process and fusion expertise.
As with all innovative, ground-breaking technologies there are many challenges to overcome and one of them is to develop and fully optimize high-performance AM polymer powders for use at high temperatures alongside non-fusible materials in a multi-powder deposition process.
Not only will this technology make 3D printing of exceptional polymers more affordable, it will open up its enormous potential to truly become a competitive industrial process for AM system manufacturers in the medical, aerospace and automotive sectors.”Brian Alexander, Global Product and Application Manager for Additive Manufacturing at Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit.
More info about Solvay Speciality Polymers Group visit: www.solvayspecialtypolymers.com.