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Novel materials help 3D

Novel materials help 3D printing to make a breakthrough In order to make the breakthrough for additive manufacturing technology in the industry, 3D printers are not the only things needed in the future. Also in demand are novel printing materials that are robust and wear-resistant. Material researchers are therefore driving development forward. One of them is the motion plastics specialist igus from Cologne. Prototypes, spare parts, serial products and tools: industrial companies are increasingly getting more of them from the 3D printer. In 78 per cent of companies, 3D printing is now regarded as a key technology that will profoundly change value chains, as shown in a survey of the Bitkom digital association. The Colognebased company igus, which offers a 3D printing service for industrial companies, is also seeing increasing demand. “Customers accepted the 3D printing service so well that we tripled our laser sintering capacities in 2018,” says Tom Krause, Head of Additive Manufacturing Business Unit at igus GmbH. “In 2019, we are expected to double the capacity”. No wonder, because the benefits of 3D printing are obvious. Printers produce unique copies and even batches quickly and cost-effectively. AUTIOMATION Designers enjoy greater design freedom Conventional production technologies such as injection moulding, however, reach the limits of economic efficiency with low volumes. Because of the time-consuming production of moulds, the initial costs are high and are profitable only for large volumes. In addition, designers enjoy greater design freedom thanks to 3D printing. 3D printers produce complex geometries and internal structures in no time at all. Traditional methods, such as subtractive turning and milling or primary forming such as casting and forging, fail or 14 WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 1/2020

01 In order to offer users a diverse variety of products from the 3D printing industry, the motion plastics specialist igus has developed the SLS material iglidur I3 The challenge: wear-optimised materials Since 2014, the company has offered materials for 3D printers. The range includes special filaments for 3D printing with the fused deposition modeling/fused filament fabrication method (FDM/FFF) and polymers for selective laser sintering (SLS). The main focus of the developers is on the wear and abrasion resistance of special polymers, specifications that lead to a long service life of 3D printed components - such as plain bearings, gears, rollers, grippers and joints. “In terms of robustness, 3D printing even keeps up with the injection moulding process,” says Tom Krause, Head of Additive Manufacturing at igus. “Tests have shown that the wear resistance of the additively manufactured parts is absolutely comparable to injection moulded parts. Our tribologically optimised filaments are up to 50 times more abrasion-resistant than standard 3D print materials.” Significantly better than conventional materials require joining technology such as gluing, welding or screwing. “Traditional manufacturing processes are not yet completely replaced by 3D printing,” says Bitkom President Achim Berg, “but it still has great potential to become the preferred production process in many areas.” Is additive manufacturing on the verge of a breakthrough? To seal the breakthrough of additive manufacturing technology, powerful 3D printers are not the only things needed. Also in demand are novel printing materials. Currently it is mainly plastic and metal. But traditional polymers such as polyactide (PLA), polyamide (PA12), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) – which The developers pay attention to more than wear resistance. “The offer ranges from 3D printing materials for easy processing, and high strength and elongated filaments, up to chemical resistant and high temperature materials.” As igus focuses on the moving application, all iglidur 3D printing materials are optimised for high abrasion resistance and a low coefficient of friction. One of the allrounders is iglidur I180-PF, a filament suitable for small batches or one-off production. By contrast, iglidur J260-PF is predestined for high application temperatures. The iglidur filaments can be used on all standard printers. For 3D printing in the laser sintering process, igus also offers iglidur I3-PL and iglidur I6-PL. These materials also distinguish themselves with above-average robustness and wear resistance. “Our tribological tests show that the high-performance polymer iglidur I3 has a better abrasion resistance at least by a factor of 3 than conventional materials for laser sintering.” 3D printers and filaments for railway technology Igus not only develops filaments but also builds 3D printers for in-house research and development. One of the achievements: a high-temperature 3D printer. The designers have installed a nozzle „In 78 per cent of companies, 3D printing is now regarded as a key technology that will profoundly change value chains“ also make Lego bricks – cannot make products that meet industry requirements for service life and wear resistance. The polymers have a high coefficient of friction, high wear rates and cannot withstand high temperatures. New high-performance polymers for industrial 3D printing are in demand. Their quality will increasingly determine how widespread the 3D printing of polymer components will become in the industry. Researchers around the world are therefore developing novel high-performance polymers, that will meet tomorrow’s requirements. In Cologne as well, where igus has its headquarters. The motion plastics specialist has been specialising in the production of polymer parts for the industry since 1964. that melts the printing material at a heat of 370 °C. In order to allow a precise adjustment of the building board at installation space temperatures of up to 200 °C, lubrication-free sliders and lead screw nuts made of the high-performance polymers iglidur X and iglidur C500 are used. Also used are heat-resistant stainless steel components of the drylin W linear guide and dryspin high helix lead screws in the X, Y and Z axes. The printer can be used to process novel filaments – such as iglidur RW370, a 3D printing material that igus has developed for railway components. The high-performance polymer has fireretardant specifications and withstands temperatures of up to 190 °C. The filament meets the European fire protection standard WORLD OF OF INDUSTRIES 1/2020 15


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