Compounds for Large Format Additive Manufacturing
At formnext, International exhibition and conference on the next generation of manufacturing technologies, Sabic introduced to the European market a family of high-performance Thermocomp AM compounds to address the unique requirements of large format additive manufacturing. Because they are reinforced with carbon or glass fibers for added strength, the new compounds can be used for demanding applications in the tooling, aerospace, automotive and defense industries.
Sabic’s first eight reinforced Thermocomp AM compounds for large format additive manufacturing are based on four of the company’s amorphous resins: acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polyphenylene ether (PPE), polycarbonate (PC) and polyetherimide (PEI). These resins exhibit good creep behavior versus semi-crystalline resins, and reduced deformation under constant pressure. Further, these materials exhibit lower shrinkage during cooling, which means greater dimensional stability and less thermal expansion during part use.
Each of the Thermocomp AM materials is reinforced with carbon or glass fiber, depending on the degree of stiffness and dimensional stability required. “As adoption of large format additive manufacturing increases, Sabic plans to expand the Thermocomp AM portfolio and other material offerings to meet evolving customer needs,” says Joshua Chiaw, director, LNP Compounds and Copolymers, Sabic.
At formnext in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, Sabic was showcasing a section of a yacht hull from Livrea Yacht that was printed on the company’s BAAM machine in its Center of Excellence for Additive Manufacturing in Pittsfield, MA/USA. The hull is a result of a collaborative design effort between Sabic, Livrea Yacht and 3D design and engineering software provider, Autodesk. Using Autodesk Fusion 360 design software and Sabic’s processing expertise on the BAAM equipment, the three companies selected two materials from the Thermocomp AM portfolio: a carbon-fiber-reinforced PPE compound for the hull’s outer layer, and a carbon-fiber-reinforced PEI for the inner lattice support structure.
“The process of using large-format additive manufacturing enabled Livrea Yacht to eliminate the need for molds and prototyping, which can be costly and inefficient,” said Mike Geyer, director of Evangelism and Emerging Technology at Autodesk. “The 3D printed hull is lighter and stronger, and can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost and in half the time, giving Livrea Yacht a competitive breakthrough that would not be possible with traditional fabrication. We are entering a very exciting time for complex, high-speed additive manufacturing.”
SABIC Saudi Basic Industries Corporation
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