Evonik plans to introduce its broad material portfolio for additive manufacturing for the first time at this year’s formnext tradeshow (to be held November 19-22 in Frankfurt/Main). The specialty chemicals company is moving the process of 3D printing a big step closer to bulk manufacturing by offering a variety of innovative “ready-to-use” high-performance materials and additives.
“Ready-to-use” is Evonik's claim in material development for additive manufacturing. “Our concept comprises efficient coordination of materials and equipment, developed in close consultation with our customers,” says Thomas Große-Puppendahl, the head of the Additive Manufacturing innovation growth field at Evonik.
The 3D printing market is driven by quality, freedom of design, and efficiency. It takes a sophisticated variety of materials—as well as powerful machinery and comprehensive software solutions—to meet these requirements. The “ready-to-use” approach of Evonik is aligned with these market needs. “Our range of innovative high-performance materials will pave the way for industrial manufacturing of components with 3D printing,” says Große-Puppendahl.
The ready-to-use material development strategy of Evonik is based on over two decades of experience with 3D printing. The specialty chemicals company came up with the first synthetic powder for additive manufacturing in 1996 and set standards for synthetic materials in 3D printing that apply to this day. In addition, Evonik can count on its application technology expertise distributed across America, Europe and Asia as well as close cooperation with customers and partners.
As the first product of the Structured Polymers technology, which was acquired in the spring of 2019 for the production of specialty polymer powders, Evonik will present an innovative copolyester at the formnext 2019 tradeshow. The material is both highly elastic and tough and can be produced in white or black, depending on the application case. It expands the company's flexible thermoplastics product range for powder-based 3D printing technologies, supplementing the existing PEBA powder.
Polyamide 613 is a new plastic powder from Evonik for 3D printing applications in higher temperature ranges. The high-performance material features exceptional mechanical strength paired with excellent chemical and temperature resistance. Its heat deflection temperature (HDT B) is around 195°C. Moreover, the high-performance powder stands out for its low water absorption—below 3 percent—, which has a positive effect on processability in 3D printing and the dimensional stability of printed 3D components.
Filaments for medical implants
As a world novelty, Evonik has developed an implant-quality plastic filament based on polyether ether ketone (PEEK) for use in 3D printing. It is suitable for use in fused filament fabrication technology and will enable additive manufacturing of three-dimensional plastic components for permanent human implants. The “testing grade” already on the market will soon be followed by an “implant grade” made of VESTAKEEP® i4 G, for which extensive approval-related documents can be provided.
Furthermore, Evonik is the world’s only known supplier of bioresorbable polymers in filament and powder form for the 3D printing of implantable medical devices. These RESOMER® polymers are designed for use with either fused filament fabrication or selective laser sintering technologies.
Strong innovation pipeline
Evonik is also expanding its extensive expertise in polymer chemicals with strategic research collaborations. The Group recently entered into a collaboration with Cubicure, a Technical University of Vienna spin-off, to jointly develop innovative, light-curing resin systems for the hot lithography technology introduced by Cubicure.
In a further research cooperation, Evonik is working with the southern German company Voxeljet AG to create polymer powder-based material systems of the next generation for the scalable binder jetting process.
Evonik bundles its competencies in 3D printing in its Additive Manufacturing innovation growth field. “Our strategic focus is on developing and manufacturing “ready-to-use” high-performance materials to meet the requirements of major technology lines. Close cooperation with our customers and partners is a prerequisite for advancing innovations,” says Große-Puppendahl.