In an unprecedented move, spanning all three types of 3D printing material support, global chemical company Huntsman is introducing a new range of additive manufacturing materials that it has developed. Branded IROPRINT, the new urethane-based materials are set to address emerging needs in the 3D printing industry. The additive manufacturing platform includes resins, powders and filaments, which can be 3D printed using a variety of relatively open additive manufacturing methods ranging from stereolithography (SLA or DLP), to high-speed sintering (HSS) and fused filament fabrication (FFF).
Initially, Huntsman is launching its range of soft, flexible IROPRINT additive manufacturing materials in the global footwear and sports industry, where 3D printing is being used to make both customized and mass-manufactured shoes. Longer-term, Huntsman plans to roll its IROPRINT additive manufacturing platform out across a much wider range of applications and industries.
At present, the IROPRINT additive manufacturing platform includes three product lines, which have been optimized to work with the main 3D printing techniques preferred by footwear producers. IROPRINT R resins are a range of soft, durable, one-component liquid resin systems that can be 3D printed using SLA, digital light processing (DLP) and other radiation-curing methods. For companies looking to 3D print with powder-based materials, IROPRINT P powders are a line of high-performance thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) for HSS forms of printing. IROPRINT F filaments are a collection of high-performance TPU materials, which have a consistent diameter, and are designed for use with fused filament fabrication (FFF) and other extrusion-based printing techniques.
All three IROPRINT additive manufacturing product lines have been optimized for the production of footwear components and are easy to use and print, offering advanced abrasion resistance, elongation and tear strength. For radiation-cured forms of printing such as SLA or DLP, IROPRINT® R resins also offer a long pot life and quick cure capabilities.
Speaking at the K preview on Wednesday 3 July, where Huntsman unveiled its IROPRINT additive manufacturing platform, Stephane Peysson, Global Business Development Manager at Huntsman Polyurethanes, said: “Our innovation incubation team worked in close cooperation with end-users and industry leaders to develop our IROPRINT additive manufacturing product portfolio. Together, we looked closely at what makes a good 3D printing material, and what’s been missing from the market to date. We believe the launch of our IROPRINT® additive manufacturing portfolio fills a gap that exists for a range of functional, durable, yet softer 3D printing materials, which are technology agnostic, and both economical and easy to print – whatever your preferred production technique.”
“Ahead of the launch of the range, we’ve been building relationships with key technology partners, which in turn work with some of the biggest footwear brands in the world. Further down the line, we see huge opportunities for our IROPRINT additive manufacturing materials in other sectors of the 3D printing market, from components for the automotive industry to objects for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. It is an incredibly exciting time to be in the additive manufacturing market, with estimates suggesting the sector is set to grow by more than 20% by 2024. We look forward to discussing the launch of our IROPRINT additive manufacturing platform with anyone actively involved in 3D printing at the main K show in October.”