Additive Manufacturing Strategies

NatureWorks Builds Innovation Lab and Rolls Out New Ingeo 3D Printing Filament Materials

ST Medical Devices

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Ingeo biopolymer pellets from NatureWorks LLC.

Ingeo biopolymer pellets from NatureWorks

NatureWorks LLC says the company is “dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow.”

The company is a biopolymers supplier and innovator responsible for a portfolio of materials made from renewable feedstocks created to compete with oil-based plastics and fibers. The company is jointly owned by Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical and Cargill.

The company recently announced that they’ve begun a wide-ranging initiative to support the growth of the additive manufacturing market that features a three-pronged approach consisting of:

  • A new series of Ingeo materials designed specifically for PLA filament for the 3D printing market
  • A technical support services suite aimed at  leading 3D printer and filament producers
  • The opening of an in-house 3D printing lab to test new Ingeo formulations and collaborate with printer and filament producers
Daniel Sawyer of NatureWorks

Daniel Sawyer of NatureWorks

NatureWorks is a PLA supplier offering more than 20 different Ingeo grades, and they say their expertise with specialized formulations and a decade of production experience make them uniquely poised to function in the 3D printing market.

NatureWorks says that over the course of the last 18 months, they’ve worked directly with 3D filament suppliers, printer manufacturers, and print operators to collect feedback on the trends and needs in the 3D printing market.

Dan Sawyer, the Global Leader of New Business Segment for NatureWorks, says the rapid pace of innovation, development, and change in the 3D printing market spurred the moves.

“Many new suppliers are entering the PLA filament market, while a breadth of experienced suppliers large and small are formulating and compounding to provide additional filament properties and options,” Sawyer says. “That’s the sort of innovation that NatureWorks is aggressively moving to support and amplify with our new broad-based initiative.”

The company says they’re immediately offering the first grade of the company’s new Ingeo 3D series, Ingeo 3D850. The material is the latest Ingeo polymer formulation and it’s meant to provide an overall balance of easy processing in filament production, consistency, and print quality.

3dom-ingeo-pla-filament_pngAccording to Sawyer, it’s also designed to provide optimum performance for manufacturers to enhance the properties of PLA by creating compounds to extend part properties beyond what current PLA grades can provide.

“What we learned from our market engagement is that a large segment of the market prefers to print with PLA and would like to replace petroleum-based ABS if PLA can rival the other material’s heat resistance and the toughness of finished parts,” Sawyer said.

He adds that the latest Ingeo 3D resin formulations are now being tested in NatureWorks’ newly established in-house print lab, and that the company plans to introduce them later this year.

NatureWorks has also developed a suite of filament melt processing guides, technical data sheets, and a variety of other technical service resources for printer manufacturers and filament producers. Among those documents is the NatureWorks 3D Suppliers Guide, which is now available for download.

As for the NatureWorks 3D printing lab, it’s equipped with multiple printers the company uses to assess the performance and quality of these latest Ingeo formulations in printer operations and in the final printed parts. The lab is focused on shortening time to market for the new Ingeo grades in the 3D series.

Have you ever used any of the Ingeo biopolymer 3D printing filaments? Let us know and show us your work in the Ingeo 3D Printing Filament Materials forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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