Materials company Covestro and industrial 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet are collaborating to develop a material-machine combination for economic large series additive manufacturing. With High Speed Sintering (HSS), voxeljet combines the advantages of two existing additive technologies: selective laser sintering and binder jetting, giving the benefit of both SLS part properties and binder-jetting productivity.
After jointly developing and qualifying a Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) powder for HSS, the two companies are taking their collaboration to the next level by bringing customers a seamless material-process solution for volume manufacturing of their specific applications.
"Typically, material and processing technology work separately in the value chain, with customers having to figure out how to make them work," said Geoff Gardner, Innovation Director Additive Manufacturing at Covestro. "Together with voxeljet, we want to remove what we believe is still a barrier for adopting additive manufacturing on the production floor. Thanks to its size and speed, coupled with the constant layer time, HSS offers manufacturers an economic solution for series production."
Seamless material-process solution
voxeljet will contribute its knowledge with its large format VX1000HSS printer platform, and Covestro its expertise in designing functional materials, to develop a seamlessly working material-process solution that can be deployed for large scale manufacturing.
James Reeves, Global Director of Polymer Sintering (HSS) at voxeljet added: "This is a match of two companies strongly believing in really close collaboration across the additive ecosystem. The potential of HSS to process specialty powder materials is tremendous. By offering customers material choices, we accelerate their access to pioneering products."
Material possibilities that the companies are considering are TPUs, which are suited well for footwear and cushioning applications, as well as thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polpropylene (PP). The collaboration with voxeljet involves scaling new materials on the large-format, industrial manufacturing machine – VX1000HSS, currently accessible via voxeljet’s Early Access Beta Program.