Sabic launches materials for large-format additive manufacturing in Europe

Sabic has introduced to the European market a family of high-performance Thermocomp AM compounds to address the unique requirements of large-format additive manufacturing. At Formnext 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany, the company exhibited 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.

Yacht hull section is 3D-printed on a large-scale BAAM printer from a carbon fiber-reinforced PPE compound for the hull’s outer layer, and a carbon fiber-reinforced PEI for the inner lattice support structure.

“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.”

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.

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