Covestro, a leader in high-tech polymer material solutions, joined hands with Raise3D, an innovative 3D printer manufacturer, to showcase a variety of 3D printing applications at ChinaCoat 2017 in Shanghai, highlighting the huge potential of 3D printing in commercialization with proven cases.
With high demands for 3D printing in a wide array of industries, including sports footwear, medical and dental, industrial engineering and automotive, the 3D printing market has been thriving in the last few years. According to a recent study by Deloitte, the global market for 3D printing will increase from USD 4.8 billion today to USD 20.5 billion by 2020. However, the growth depends on a number of factors, including the availability of suitable materials and processes.
“The development of appropriate printing materials is one of the key factors in scaling up the 3D printing market. We want to leverage our expertise in material science to help advance the development of 3D printing and speed up the commercialization of new 3D printing applications along with leading players across the process chain such as formulators, machine makers and designers.” said Yvonne Wang, Market Development Manager of 3D printing APAC at Covestro. The collaboration with Raise3D is one of the examples how Covestro works with the whole value chain.
“Our 3D printers are proven to be a safe choice for rapid prototyping capability, and also for short-run manufacturing, ” said Song Yong, Vice President responsible for marketing at Raise3D, “The large print volume, the material diversity and the high fast processing capability make our printers unique in the market.”
Orthotics tailor-made within 3 days
3D printing is a technology that can positively transform the healthcare sector, achieving a perfect fit for each patient with much shorter lead time.On the show is a 3D printed leg guard based on high performance and lightweight polycarbonate materials. 3D printing can create personalized leg guard that fits perfectly with leg shape, ensuring greater comfort and faster recovery for patients. It only takes 2 to 3 days from the scanning process to 3D file development, production and installation of orthotics. In comparison, the traditional technology with plaster will take nearly 2 weeks. Raise3D printers enable high surface quality orthotics with big size and complex structure.
Individualization trend for footwear
3D printing technology can open up full freedom to creative design and allows complex structure with a seamless appearance. With this technology, we can create fully functioning shoes that perfectly fit consumers, offering opportunities to individuals, designers, and artists to make custom shoes.
When it comes to sports footwear, its advantages become even more obvious.The shoes can be designed accordingly to exactly fit sportsperson’s feet so as to provide greater flexibility and comfort, which allows more natural movement of the feet. Moreover, 3D printing can reduce material consumption, enable one-stop production and thus benefit sustainability.
Based on Covestro’s thermal plastic polyurethane materials with different hardness and strength, 3D printed midsole or lattice heel allows footwear reinforced and optimized structure with lighter weight.The hollowed crossed-sections also help heat to dissipate faster.
Cost-effective and highly customized security drone
Prototyping is one major application area for 3D printing. It allows manufacturers to achieve higher accuracy and develop reliable end products with lower cost and shorter lead time. For instance, by applying 3D printing with Covestro’s polycarbonate materials, the security drone producer is able to produce highly customized parts that are traditionally difficult to mold. Since the 3D printer can withstand temperatures up to 300℃, it is more flexible for the producer to choose the right material for each component: high strength for the frame and motor mount, lightweight for the camera shroud, and flexible impact-absorbing for the feet.
New material options for industrial 3D printing
Covestro is developing a comprehensive range of filaments, powders and liquid resins for all common 3D printing methods. The company markets products with a variety of properties like toughness and heat resistance as well as transparency and flexibility that support a number of new applications. Covestro’s efforts will make a key contribution to advancing the use of 3D printing in industrial mass production.
- Filament made of polyurethane and polycarbonate for applications such as athletics, medical or electrical.
- Powder using polyurethane for applications like footwear.
- Liquid resin, also using polyurethane, for a variety of applications.