DSM has announced the launch of a new EcoPaXX grade designed for fused granulate fabrication or 3D pellet printing technology. The material has been developed for the production of end-use parts, such as automotive tooling and even structural parts.
In fused granulate fabrication, granular plastics - pellets - are melted and fed through a nozzle onto a platform. The nozzle can be changed to output more or less plastic and at different speeds for faster printing speeds or finer details. The technology is suitable for printing strong and stiff industrial parts fast and economically.
The new EcoPaXX material incorporates DSM’s proprietary PA410 technology, which ensures lower moisture uptake than classic PA6/66. The material offers excellent thermal and mechanical properties, excellent chemical resistance and good surface properties as well as 42% bio-based content based on ISO 16620-1 2015(E) - in short, ’a fit-for-purpose material that delivers on performance and sustainability’, said the company in a statement.
“EcoPaXX AM4001 GF (G) is the first 3D printing material based on DSM’s established bio-based engineering material EcoPaXX, an industry-leading engineering material used in traditional manufacturing for industrial applications,” said Geoff Gardner, Innovations Director Additive Manufacturing at DSM. “A combination of DSM’s proprietary technology and the power of nature’s building blocks derived from castor plants, the material is ideal for pellet printing automotive structural parts combining mechanical performance with a wide temperature range.”
Producing automotive tooling and structural parts using additive manufacturing makes geometry or internal structure changes easier and shortens production time, as it eliminates steps in the production process. Similarly, costs are reduced throughout the entire product lifecycle, from component production and assembly, to vehicle testing and low volume vehicle production. By using sustainable polymers for metal replacement, car manufacturers can meet two sustainability goals at once: lower emissions standards by building lightweight cars and reduce their manufacturing carbon footprint.
Next to a focus on fused filament fabrication, DSM is increasingly turning its attention to ‘pellet printing’. With filler ratios of up to 50%, pellet materials can meet performance requirements while not being bound by the constraints of some other 3D printing technologies. Earlier this year in March, DSM announced its partnership with JuggerBot 3D, who has developed a printer for fused granulate fabrication specifically to process performance materials, like DSM’s glass-reinforced Arnite AM8527 (G).
DSM has also become one of the first to purchase JuggerBot 3D’s new P3-44 printer for fused granulate fabrication. The printer features a build volume of three feet deep, four feet wide, and four feet tall, and is able to produce parts up to 200 times faster than other machines.
Aiming to further scale up additive manufacturing to industrial workflows, DSM will continue to add more pellet products to its growing portfolio of 3D printing solutions, the company said.