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07-21-2016

Elix Polymers Launches ABS 3D Printing R&D Project

FDM technology has a broad scope of application, including sectors such as automotive, aerospace, biomedicine, consumer products, electrical/electronics, and others (© Elix)

FDM technology has a broad scope of application, including sectors such as automotive, aerospace, biomedicine, consumer products, electrical/electronics, and others (© Elix)

A new “ABS 3D printing” R&D project initiated by specialty ABS producer Elix Polymers, Tarragona, Spain, aims to develop advanced versions of the terpolymer specifically for 3D printing using Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), more commonly known as Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). Elix’s aim is to create materials that will produce parts with better mechanical properties such as resistance to impact, low warpage, dimensional precision and high resolution.

To develop this new generation of polymer materials and their application in 3D printing, Elix Polymers is working in collaboration with Aimplas Plastics Technology Centre, based in Valencia, Spain. The Spanish government-run Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) has confirmed that it will fund this R&D project.

The global 3D printing market in 2014 was worth an estimated EUR 2.8 billion and is expected to grow to up to €8.7 billion in 2020. Analysts expect strong growth in various sectors, thanks to the numerous benefits offered by 3D printing, such as the speed with which an idea can be brought to reality, the reduction in manufacturing errors that can occur, the efficient use of materials, and more.

3D printing of parts using FDM technology is used for modelling, manufacturing prototypes, and small-scale production runs of functional parts. 3D printers using FDM technology work with thermoplastics in the form of a continuous filament, which they heat until it reaches a molten state. They then deposit the melt in layers to form the finished part. With its intrinsically high tensile strength, impact strength and processability, ABS is one of the two most popular thermoplastics used for 3D printing (the other is the biopolymer PLA).

Aimplas and Elix have already been working together in various stages of the new R&D project, from the development of the ABS product and modification of the formulas, through to manufacturing of filament with thicknesses of 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm, using Aimplas’ own filament extruder line (equipped with a single-screw extruder, controlled cooling bath, drive system and spool system), printing and validation of the product, sharing advice in the demands and requirements for final application.

Company profile

AIMPLAS Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico

Gustave Eiffel 4
ES 46980 Paterna/Valencia
Tel.: +34 96 1366040

Elix Polymers S.L.

Polígono Industrial
ES 43110 La Canonja
Tel.: +34 977 8354-00

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