Shanghai-based Polymaker, which develops and manufactures engineering-grade 3D printing materials, launched its Polymaker Industrial product family at the TCT Asia show this spring, the same week that advanced polymer developer Covestro introduced its new polyurethane materials at RAPID 2017. The two materials companies teamed up two years ago to co-create a new line of polycarbonate 3D printing filament, Polymaker PC-Plus and Polymaker PC-Max, designed for desktop 3D printers and based on Covestro’s PC resins; PC-Max is one of the strongest engineering materials for desktop 3D printers.
The partnership between Covestro and Polymaker is expanding, as today the two companies are announcing the launch of their new advanced materials, U1000 and U0174D, for extrusion-based 3D printing.
“We are proud to announce two new materials to add to our portfolio under the ever-expanding Polymaker Industrial repertoire,” Polymaker’s Marketing Manager Luke Taylor told 3DPrint.com. “Both these new materials are made using Covestro’s TPU resin and have been modified by Polymaker for certain mechanical characteristics. Both materials are quite different from currently available TPU’s on the market which we often associate with flexible materials. These new materials are much stiffer and therefore can print much easier and faster than flexible filaments while still displaying excellent toughness and layer adhesion.”
The new high-performance plastic U1000 and U0174D 3D printing materials are both available in the Polymaker Industrial family, which offers strong, industrial-grade 3D printing materials for multiple industries, such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and general manufacturing.
“We are very pleased to work with Polymaker, a rising star in the 3D printing industry. Their commitment to innovation and quality matches the values of Covestro, and we look forward to doing more exciting projects together in the future,” said Yvonne Wang, Business Development Manager for Additive Manufacturing at Covestro.
More and more fields are using 3D printing technology for parts production, which makes the availability of advanced materials increasingly important. Material scientists from both Polymaker and Covestro suggest that U1000 and U0174D, both of which have several unique features, can be used to provide solutions for a wide range of new applications, which means new customers, as well as contributing “to the further penetration of AM into a variety of industrial markets.”
Dr. Xiaofan Luo, President of Polymaker, said, “We are very excited about these two materials. They will certainly enable lots of new applications and open opportunities in a variety of industries.”
U1000 and U0174D are both thermoplastic polyurethanes, or TPUs – a particular specialty of Covestro, which is actually an independent subgroup within the Bayer company and used to be known as Bayer MaterialScience. TPU allows for permanent bonding between layers that are being 3D printed, and due to its elastic nature, offers great flexibility and abrasion resistance.
Wang said, “Polyurethane is an incredibly versatile chemistry that can be used to create almost endless possibilities in materials.”
While most conventional TPUs are rubbery and soft, the new U1000 and U0174D materials are tough and strong, just like engineering plastics. Both of these versatile materials have good heat resistance, layer adhesion, and mechanical strength, and can be used to print durable parts for manufacturing environments, like jigs and fixtures, molds, structural components, and tools.
U1000 and U0174D differ from other high-performance plastics in that they don’t require demanding printing conditions, such as high chamber and nozzle temperatures: they can both be printed, on almost any thermoplastic extrusion-based 3D printer, under much more mild conditions. However, there are a few major differences between these new materials. Ductile U0174D feels more like a semi-crystalline plastic, like polypropylene, and has excellent fracture toughness, while still U1000 has a high modulus, such as glassy polymers like polystyrene and polycarbonate.
What do you think of these new materials? Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Images provided by Polymaker]