SABIC Announces European Launch of THERMOCOMP™ AM Materials for Large Format Additive Manufacturing at Formnext
New Fiber-reinforced Compounds Are Supported by Mechanical Property Data and Processing Parameters Developed for Large Format Printers
SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, today introduced to the European market a family of high-performance THERMOCOMP™ AM compounds to address the unique requirements of large format additive manufacturing. Here at Formnext 2017, in stand 3.1-G78, the company is exhibiting these eight new compounds, developed for use in large-format pellet-fed extruders. Print parameters and mechanical property data for the materials – developed by SABIC using test specimens printed on the company’s in-house BAAM® printer – are available to aid customers in expediting material selection and optimizing processing conditions. Because they are reinforced with carbon or glass fibers for added strength, the new THERMOCOMP AM compounds can be used for demanding applications in the tooling, aerospace, automotive and defense industries.
“Large format additive manufacturing is opening up tremendous new opportunities for producing large, complex parts with speed and precision,” said Stephanie Gathman, director, Emerging Applications, SABIC. “We are committed to providing the advanced material solutions customers need to win. Beyond innovative material development, SABIC also supports customers with world-class processing, design and testing capabilities at our U.S. Center of Excellence for Additive Manufacturing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. These resources help customers accelerate application development for large printed parts.”
New THERMOCOMP™ AM Compounds are Based on Four SABIC Resins
SABIC’s first eight reinforced THERMOCOMP™ AM compounds for large format additive manufacturing are based on four of the company’s amorphous resins: acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polyphenylene ether (PPE), polycarbonate (PC) and polyetherimide (PEI). These resins exhibit good creep behavior versus semi-crystalline resins, and reduced deformation under constant pressure. Further, these materials exhibit lower shrinkage during cooling, which means greater dimensional stability and less thermal expansion during part use.
- ABS-based compounds provide ease of processing, low warpage and good print surface quality, making them good candidate materials for a broad range of applications and tooling, including thermoforming and vacuum forming.
- PPE-based compounds offer lower thermal expansion, outstanding hydrolytic stability, a higher strength-to-weight ratio and higher temperature performance compared to ABS.
- PC-based compounds deliver higher stiffness, higher temperature performance and higher throughput compared to ABS and PPE, as well as excellent ductility and a smooth surface finish.
- PEI-based compounds, developed from SABIC’s inherently flame-retardant ULTEM™ resins, provide low thermal expansion, high temperature performance, an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, high modulus and low creep.
Each of the THERMOCOMP AM materials is reinforced with carbon or glass fiber, depending on the degree of stiffness and dimensional stability required.
An Expanding Materials Portfolio Enabling Growth for Large Format Additive Manufacturing
“As adoption of large format additive manufacturing increases, SABIC plans to expand our THERMOCOMP AM portfolio and other material offerings to meet evolving customer needs,” said Joshua Chiaw, director, LNP™ Compounds and Copolymers, SABIC. “We have a wide array of thermoplastic resins, fillers and reinforcements available to us. For instance, to meet industry requirements for materials with higher chemical resistance and stiffness, we are currently evaluating new large format processes and compounds containing semi-crystalline resins such as PBT, PA, PPS and PEEK.”
SABIC is showcasing at Formnext a section of a yacht hull from Livrea Yacht that was printed on the company’s BAAM machine in its Center of Excellence for Additive Manufacturing in Pittsfield. The hull is a result of a collaborative design effort between SABIC, Livrea Yacht and 3D design and engineering software provider, Autodesk. Using Autodesk® Fusion 360® design software and SABIC’s processing expertise on the BAAM equipment, the three companies selected two materials from the THERMOCOMP™ AM portfolio: a carbon fiber-reinforced PPE compound for the hull’s outer layer, and a carbon fiber-reinforced PEI for the inner lattice support structure.
“The process of using large-format additive manufacturing enabled Livrea Yacht to eliminate the need for molds and prototyping, which can be costly and inefficient,” said Mike Geyer, director of Evangelism and Emerging Technology at Autodesk. “The 3D printed hull is lighter and stronger, and can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost and in half the time, giving Livrea Yacht a competitive breakthrough that would not be possible with traditional fabrication. We are entering a very exciting time for complex, high-speed additive manufacturing.”
Two materials from SABIC’s new THERMOCOMP™ AM portfolio were selected for a yacht hull from Livrea Yachts – a carbon fiber-reinforced PPE compound for the hull’s outer layer, and carbon fiber-reinforced PEI for the inner lattice support structure. The hull, printed on SABIC’s BAAM® printer in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in the United States, is a result of a collaborative design effort between SABIC, Livrea Yacht and 3D design and engineering software provider, Autodesk. The final part is lighter and stronger versus hulls made by traditional fabrication, and can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost and in half the time.
Top image: SABIC has introduced to the European market a new family of high-performance THERMOCOMP™ AM compounds that addresses the unique requirements of large format additive manufacturing (LFAM). Print parameters and mechanical property data for the materials – developed by SABIC using test specimens printed on the company’s in-house BAAM® printer – can significantly aid customers in expediting material selection and optimizing processing. Reinforced with carbon or glass fibers for added strength, the new compounds can be used for applications in the tooling, aerospace, automotive and defense industries.