SABIC to Debut at Innotrans a New EN45545 Rail-Compliant Additive Manufacturing Solution to Help Advance the Transportation Industry
SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, will introduce at InnoTrans 2022 in Berlin, Germany, LNP™ THERMOCOMP™ AM DC0041XA51 compound, a novel carbon fiber-reinforced, flame-retardant (FR) compound well-suited for pellet-fed additive manufacturing (PFAM) that complies with E.U. and U.S. rail fire safety standards. The innovative new compound can help the rail industry advance from building traditional tools for part production from thermosets to utilizing on demand 3D printing which can potentially lower system costs by reducing inventory levels of large tools and replacement parts.
At InnoTrans, September 20-23, in Hall 5.1, booth #332, SABIC will be exhibiting a large front-hatch part printed by CAF, a leading multinational supplier of comprehensive transit solutions for major railway networks, using LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 compound. CAF chose the new compound to print large replacement parts quickly, with the goal of minimizing lead times and inventory.
“With our increased focus on 3D printing, we were looking for a material that complies with the stringent safety requirements set forth in international standards like NFPA 130 or EN45545,” said Lucas Esteban, operational manager from Digital Manufacturing, CAF. “SABIC’s LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 compound has unique features that fit well with industry requirements, including the appropriate railway certificates. Its non-halogenated flame-retardant system addresses current sustainability trends, and its carbon fiber reinforcement and favorable processing allow us to make larger part geometries with sufficient stiffness and limited warpage. This breakthrough material is an ideal solution for CAF and the entire transportation industry.”
Complying with Global Rail Safety Standards
The new LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 compound is well-suited for printing large or medium-size rail components using PFAM. This compound is one of the first PFAM-capable materials to comply with requirements of the harmonized European EN45545 standard (R1 Hazard Level 3) and the U.S. NFPA-130 standard for interior and exterior parts. The product has been certified compliant with both standards by an independent laboratory.
Combining SABIC’s proprietary copolymer resin with additive and reinforcement technology, SABIC experts developed a solution that meets the challenging requirements of these standards, which place strict limits on smoke density and toxicity, heat release and flame spread.
The new material offers important performance advantages for printing large parts using PFAM. Firstly, LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 compound maintains its structural integrity during printing and delivers good dimensional stability with low warpage for the finished part. From a processing standpoint, LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 compound may eliminate the need for additional investment since the product facilitates high printing speeds at relatively moderate temperatures. Potential applications include exterior parts such as bumpers as well as interior cladding components such as side panels, partition walls and ducts, and seating backs and shells.
“SABIC is a leader in pellet-fed additive manufacturing materials, and we continue to innovate with specialized solutions that address specific vertical industry challenges,” said Luc Govaerts, director, Formulation & Application Development, Specialties Business, SABIC. “We developed our newest LNP THERMOCOMP AM compound to offer the rail industry a regulation-compliant solution that can be used for on-demand printing of large, complex exterior and interior parts in relatively small build numbers. Pellet fed additive manufacturing avoids the time and costs of creating tooling, helps reduce inventory and offers expanded design freedom. Our successful collaboration with CAF demonstrates the value of all these factors, and we believe many other rail manufacturers can benefit from adopting PFAM and our materials.”
Improving on Competitive Materials
Few thermoplastic compounds can simultaneously meet EN45545 and NFPA 130 standards and work successfully in PFAM systems. High-temperature materials such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK) address stringent fire safety requirements but do not process as easily as the new carbon-filled compound using additive manufacturing.
Compared to thermosets formulated with halogen-based FR additives, SABIC’s new LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 compound provides expanded design flexibility, facilitates recycling and offers a non-halogenated FR solution.
SABIC’s LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 compound is available globally.