Royal Plastics buys into laser sintering

By: 
April 02, 2010

Royal Plastic Manufacturing (Minden, NE) is noted for its manufacture of advanced composite products for the aerospace industry. Parts from Royal Plastic can be found on the space shuttle, Apache helicopter, F-15 and F-18 fighter jets, the V-22 Osprey and more. To expand its offerings, the company just purchased an EOSINT P 800 laser-sintering machine from EOS. Royal will use the P 800 to manufacture high-performance thermoplastic products out of EOS’ PEEK HP3 material.

“We have more than a half-century of experience creating aircraft parts,” says Tim O’Dey, engineering manager at Royal Plastic. “The new material and manufacturing technology form EOS are an excellent fit for expanding our high-value offerings to existing customers, and even reach into medical and other fields.”

EOS PEEK HP3 is a high-performance polymer, with a melt point of 372ºC/702ºF, according to information from EOS. It is widely know for its outstanding material properties, including flame and temperature resistance, chemical resistance, high tensile strength, light weight, biocompatibility, and sterilizability. These properties make it attractive for aerospace, medical, automotive, and industrial applications. PEEK HP3 from EOS is the only PEEK-type polymer available for laser-sintering, said EOS.

“With this additive manufacturing technology we’re talking about being able to build low-volume parts without the expense of tooling to produce injection molded parts,” O’Dey said in a telephone interview. “As we diversify into other markets such as medical with specialty products, this will provide us with a competitive technology edge.”

Royal acquired the EOSINT P 800 as part of an ongoing project funded by the United States Air Force and Navy. The company has worked closely with two of the largest air defense contractors on the project and is adding to existing military guidelines for laser-sintering by developing specifications for PEEK HP3. Aircraft parts manufactured with the thermoplastic will include ducts for cooling and heating avionics, and clips and brackets for attaching fuel systems or wiring. Clare Goldsberry

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