Evonik and Lehvoss have collaborated to develop a fiber-reinforced polyamide, PA613, designed for powder bed processes in industrial 3D printing. This material, aimed at achieving performance levels akin to injection-molded components, is vital for special components and spare parts markets. The innovation lies in the integration of high-strength XCF fibers, commonly used in injection molding, into the PA613 polymer, which is known for its low moisture absorption, high temperature stability, and process stability in laser sintering.
The challenge in creating fiber-reinforced polymers for powder bed processes like laser sintering is maintaining fiber integrity. Typically, such processes allow significant geometric freedom, essential for complex geometries designed for injection molding. However, mixing fibers into plastic powders presents safety risks and handling challenges. The novel approach by Evonik and Lehvoss circumvents this by ensuring fiber lengths are preserved within the particles.
“The fact that the first automotive OEMs have already qualified for spare parts production shows that we are on the right track,” said Marcus Rechberger, product manager for Luvosint at the Lehvoss Group.
“Nevertheless, in laser sintering, there still needs to be a lot of willingness to innovate in order to develop even more industrially relevant materials – including machines optimized for this – in order to bring industrial 3D printing into “series “!”.
Luvosint PA613 9711 CF, the product of this development, requires a build chamber temperature of 195 °C, making it compatible with standard laser sintering machines. It is responsive to CO2, diode, or fiber lasers.
This material’s development represents a significant stride in broadening the scope of materials available for industrial 3D printing, particularly for materials capable of replicating or surpassing methods like injection molding. Such materials have the potential to vastly expand the realm of practical applications for 3D printing technologies.
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