Infinity meets Reality

Powder Bed Fusion

Evonik had already delivered the first polyamide 12 powder material for Powder Bed Fusion in 1996 setting new quality standards that currently apply to 3D printing of polymer materials.

A powder is deposited layer by layer and fused at the places where a component is to be created. Depending on the method in question, this is either done by a laser (LS) or an infrared light (Multi Jet Fusion™/MJF, High Speed Sintering/HSS). In the second variant, an inkjet printer prints a mostly black marking on the places that are to be fused. The black areas heat up faster than the unmarked areas. The finished component is then taken from the powder bed.

The specialty chemicals company is a world leader in the production of polyamide 12 powders (PA 12), which have been used in 3D printing for over 20 years. The development of the flexible high-performance powder expands Evonik’s existing product portfolio of synthetic materials for 3D printing. Evonik produces the powder materials at its largest global site, the Marl Chemical Park.

High speed sintering is a physical binder-jetting process that allows the tool-less production of functional prototypes as well as final consumer parts. The HSS process combines the advantages of two existing additive processes: selective laser sintering and binder jetting. While laser sintering, already allows many powder materials to be sintered into functional prototypes today, binder jetting impresses with its high printing rates in terms of size and speed of the construction site. High Speed Sintering thus allows the economical processing of larger plots and a wider selection of materials. 

In the HSS process, a thin layer of plastic granulate, such as PA 12 powders, is applied on to a heated building platform. An inkjet print head then moves over the entire surface of the platform and moistens the areas of the construction site with infrared light-absorbing ink, on which the prototype is to be produced. The building platform is then irradiated with infrared light. The wetted areas absorb the heat, which sinters the powder layer underneath. However, the unprinted powder remains loose. After sintering, the building platform is lowered by one layer thickness. This process is repeated until the assembly of a component is completed. The sintered parts are then cooled down in a controlled manner in the installation space before they can be removed and unpacked. In contrast to laser-based processes, the entire building platform can be printed in just one go, which enables a constant layertime time, irrespective of the size and complexity of the parts. Inert gas atmosphere is also not necessary for the HSS printing process. 

VOXELJET UNVEILS NEW 3D-PRINTING TECHNOLOGY

HSS printers from voxeljet offer unprecedented open sourcing possibilities. With the new ProPrint control software, users can program and insert customer-specific macros in just a few steps to adapt the printer to the desired material parameters and process operations. In addition, the software can also be used for individual process data mining, enabling the recording and evaluation of a wide variety of process data as required. Moreover, the user can process different powder materials, as the powder material does not necessarily have to be purchased from voxeljet.

Evonik and HP develop 3D-printable thermoplastic elastomer to enable breakthrough applications for HP’s Multi Jet Fusion™ technology.

Evonik and HP’s new TPA powder is a flexible, lightweight-construction material distinguished by its very low density of 1.01 g/cm³ and a Shore A hardness of 91. The high-performance powder is excellently suited for production of functional high-tech 3D plastic parts—prototypes as well as series products—that call for high extensibility and energy return, such as sports equipment or automobile components.

NEW POLYAMIDES FOR ADVANCED SINTERING PROCESSES 

The new ready-to-use powder material meets all the processability criteria required for optimized, production-grade parts developed for HP’s Multi Jet Fusion™ technology. The powder enables fast, high-quality parts to be produced using HP’s Jet Fusion 4200 series of 3D printers, resulting in an efficient, reliable experience.

The advantages are twofold: The process works about ten times as fast as other additive processes, and the indirect fusion protects the polymer chains so that the defined properties of the material are retained. Evonik participates in HP’s Open Platform Program and provide additional powder materials for Multi Jet Fusion™ technology.

Evonik had already delivered the first polymer powder material for the additive manufacturing market - SLS technology - in 1996, thus setting standards that currently apply to 3D printing of plastic materials.

THE PRINCIPLE OF ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING USING SELECTIVE LASER SINTERING

Selective laser sintering is based on the principle of the layer-wise build-up of a structure by combining powders to form a part. In general, the process can be characterized as follows:

  • specification of a three-dimensional model in the form of CAD data
  • no use of molding tools
  • generative build-up; molding occurs not by removal of material, but by applying itany desired geometry
  • offers freedom of design

Evonik has many years of experience in developing and processing products that lend themselves specifically to new 3d printing processes. Based on CAD data sets, 3d printing generates complex components through the layerwise application of polymer powders, filaments, fluids, binders or other suitable materials.

The principle is always the same: A material is laid down layer by layer. In practice, however, a wide variety of processes lead to the same result. One of the most important processes is selective laser sintering (SLS). Here, a powder is melted by means of a laser, layer by layer. This produces very precisely detailed and robust components made of either plastic or metal.

OUR READY-TO-USE POLYMER POWDERS

Product

Technology

Class of material

Properties

HSS/MJF/SLS

Specialized polyamide 12

Excellent powder flow

SLS

High temp. polyamide 613

High temperature resistance

HSS/MJF/SLS

Thermoplastic amide

Flexible

HSS/MJF/SLS

Thermoplastic copolyester

Flexible

SLS

Bioresorbable polymer

Biocompatibel

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