BASF Forward AM Offers Ultrafuse® PLA Tough: The Ultimate Functional PLA designed for High-Speed Printing

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It’s seven times faster, seven times tougher making it seven times as advanced as any other standard PLA.

The team at BASF Forward AM is constantly focused on developing innovative materials and processes to provide workable solutions to help our customers. One need that is consistently brought to us from many of our partners and customers is to assist them in reducing operational downtime. In a busy manufacturing facility focused on uninterrupted production, downtime is the enemy. Every minute counts and any delay in production can have a significant impact.

Recently, Forward AM partnered with a facility that needed to install pneumatic regulators on a new line of machines. The existing mounting brackets and combinations, meaning those typically used for pneumatic regulators, proved both insufficient and unsuitable for the specific requirements of the new equipment. To reduce downtime and avoid delays in production, the team decided to utilize 3D printing as a solution. This single decision opened the door to a broad array of innovative possibilities.

Forward AM Provided Workable Solutions with Reliable Materials

The challenge was to design, print, and assemble a custom fixture for the pneumatic regulator, tailored precisely to the unique specifications of the new machines. And if those goals weren’t ambitious enough, it all needed to be accomplished within a single working day of 8 hours.

To tackle this challenge efficiently and expediently, the team opted for Ultrafuse® PLA Tough, a high-performance 3D printing material known for its durability and toughness. It met the requirements for robustness, offered high-speed compatibility as well as the ease of printing found in standard PLAs. In addition, the material allows for the design freedom necessary to create a fixture that is perfectly matched the new equipment’s required needs without postprocessing.

By taking full advantage of 3D printing’s design flexibility, the team created and produced a precise and highly accurate fixture that would firmly secure the pneumatic regulator in place. This ensured optimal performance and safety. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing allowed them to create intricate geometries and precise dimensions tailored to the specific mounting points on the new machines.

The Real Advantage of High-Speed Printing

A true game-changer for 3D Printing is Ultrafuse® PLA Tough’s high-speed compatibility and HS printing profile availability*. While the standard print profile for a standard PLA took 13 hours and 31 minutes to print, the high-speed profile reduced the total print time to an astonishing 3 hours and 50 minutes. This represented a staggering 250% reduction in printing time compared to conventional material and print profiles.

While speed is a critical factor, the performance of a filament during high-speed printing is equally important. Our PLA Tough sets a new standard in this regard. With a Young’s Modulus that surpasses other PLA Tough filaments on the market, it exhibits minimal reduction, even when the printing speed is increased from 40 mm/s to 300 mm/s. This exceptional capability positions our PLA Tough as the next-generation functional PLA, offering unparalleled performance and consistency.

With the newly designed fixture, the manufacturing team seamlessly integrated the pneumatic regulators onto the new machines. The entire process, from design to 3D printing and assembly, was completed within a single working day. This level of efficiency meant that there was no downtime for the manufacturing facility and production could continue smoothly.

The Comprehensive Value of the High-Speed Solutions Offered by Forward AM

Enjoy minimized downtime through the use of 3D printing and Ultrafuse® PLA Tough. This innovative material allowed the team to swiftly address the installation challenge, preventing costly production delays by waiting for days to receive an expensive tailor-made mounting bracket.

By creating a custom-fit, high-quality part, 3D printing ensured that the fixture perfectly met the unique needs of specific equipment.

Companies can benefit from time and cost savings as the high-speed printing profile of Ultrafuse® PLA Tough significantly reduces production time, enabling a rapid turnaround.

An increase in manufacturing efficiency with the ability to design, print, and assemble within one working day and streamlining the workflow and maintaining productivity.

Optimize Your Future with High-Speed 3D Printing

The combination of innovative 3D printing technology along with the durability of Ultrafuse® PLA Tough with high-speed print profiles can solve numerous manufacturing challenges. It demonstrates vast potential within 3D printing in terms of optimizing efficiency and significantly reducing downtime in order to maintain continuous manufacturing operations.

*When compared to conventional print profiles that print at 40mm/s our print profile can print in high quality at 300 mm/s, making it more than 7 times faster.

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