Braskem, a leading producer of polyolefins and biopolymers, and additive manufacturing materials developer Advanced Laser Materials (ALM) have announced the release of their first jointly developed 3D printing material: a polypropylene (PP) powder for industrial selective laser sintering (SLS) systems.
Braskem and ALM, a wholly owned subsidiary of EOS Group, have worked together since 2018, pooling their resources and expertise to develop polyolefin-based SLS powders. Polyolefin is a category of polymer, including polyethylene and polypropylene, made from a simple olefin as a monomer. The newly launched PP powder for SLS 3D printing is the first product released through the companies’ collaboration.
“Looking to the future, we see exciting new opportunities for innovation in the additive manufacturing markets,” said Jason Vagnozzi, Braskem Additive Manufacturing Leader, North America. “As a global leader in polyolefins, collaborating with ALM who offers the largest selection of laser sintering solutions and is a pioneer of materials development for industrial 3D printing was a natural fit, creating a powerful combination. Bringing these two organizations together made it possible to transform our innovative vision into reality, with our polypropylene for additive manufacturing delivering superior printing capabilities versus other available materials.”
The new PP-based material offers a number of beneficial properties, including low weight, moisture resistance and chemical resistance. The material is reportedly comparable to injection molded PP materials in many ways, including its elongation at break and flexibility. The companies add that the 3D printing powder has improved recyclability, enhanced processing stability and durable living hinge capabilities. Going forward, the companies plan to develop and release additional polyolefins-based materials for the SLS process to broaden the technology’s applications.
“ALM material variety has long been a limiting factor in the adoption of AM for serial production,” commented Donnie Vanelli, Senior Vice President of EOS Life Cycle Solutions. “We continue to partner with leading material manufacturers with the aim of diversifying the SLS portfolio unleashing the true potential of AM. Collaborating with Braskem as the leading provider of polypropylene in the U.S. is the perfect match to offer a true PP solution to the additive market. We aim to offer a product that is superior in quality and reliability, that is also scalable in supply and very competitive in price.”
Today, ALM offers a range of TPE- and PA-based SLS materials, including carbon fiber, glass and mineral filled nylon powders.