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SABIC Reveals New 3D Printing Materials Including New LEXAN EXL Filaments for AM

SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, is demonstrating here at Formnext 2017, stand 3.1-G78, its strong focus on advancing additive manufacturing from prototyping to full-scale production. The companyis releasing its new LEXAN EXL AMHI240F filament, a unique product for fused deposition modeling that delivers high impact performance and low-temperature ductility. LEXAN EXL filament supplements the filament portfolio that SABIC launched earlier this year and is displaying at its Formnext stand. The company is also introducing to the European market a product family of eight reinforced compounds for large format additive manufacturing. Further illustrating its emphasis on disruptive technologies, SABIC is highlighting several other distinctive solutions for additive manufacturing.

“Expansion of additive manufacturing depends on the availability of high-performance materials that can help optimize processing and promote application innovation,” said Stephanie Gathman, director, Emerging Applications, SABIC. “SABIC is creating a range of new materials for different additive manufacturing processes, and supporting customers with our extensive expertise and resources for testing, design and application development. The breadth of technologies we are highlighting here at Formnext attest to our strategic efforts to help the industry take full advantage of additive manufacturing’s great potential.”

Material Innovations Expand the Capabilities of Additive Manufacturing
SABIC’s LEXAN EXL AMHI240F filament is based on LEXAN EXL polycarbonate (PC) copolymer and delivers high toughness and high strength for potential use in demanding applications in the aerospace, consumer electronics and automotive industries. Available for use in Stratasys Fortus Classic printers, the material processes at standard Stratasys print settings for PC. It may also be appropriate for other printers with sufficient temperature capability and an open-format architecture.

The company also is making available to European customers a portfolio of six filaments for fused deposition modeling. They are based on SABIC’s industry-leading ULTEM polyetherimide (PEI) resin, CYCOLAC acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin and LEXAN PC resin, and offer the same composition as the company’s injection molding grades. Available for use in Stratasys Fortus Classic printers, these products target a broad range of customer requirements, and offer greater choice to the industrial filament market.

SABIC’s family of eight high-performance THERMOCOMP AM compounds, also new to the European market, addresses the unique requirements of large format additive manufacturing. Reinforced with carbon or glass fibers for added strength, the new compounds are based on four amorphous resins: ABS, polyphenylene ether (PPE), PC and PEI. They exhibit good creep behavior, reduced deformation under constant pressure and lower shrinkage compared to crystalline resins. They are excellent candidate materials for applications in the tooling, aerospace, automotive and defense industries.

SABIC is working on innovations beyond its current portfolio of fused deposition modeling filaments and reinforced compounds for large format additive manufacturing. At its booth, the company is highlighting several disruptive material solutions that offer improved performance versus currently available products:

  • Polycarbonate materials for selective laser sintering (SLS): SABIC is developing a technology to enable laser sintering of PC materials with good mechanical properties and part densities above 96 percent. These powders may provide an alternative to polyamide 12 (PA 12) and can be processed using commercially available printers.
  • Polycarbonate and ULTEM PEI filaments: Made with SABIC’s healthcare-grade resins, these filaments enable printed parts with excellent mechanical performance, sterilization compatibility and biocompatibility.
  • EXTEM thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) filaments for fused deposition modeling: These filaments represent SABIC’s ongoing focus on developing differentiated, high-temperature solutions for additive manufacturing. The materials are a great alternative consideration for applications requiring higher temperature performance than ULTEM polyetherimide (PEI) filaments.

Application Highlights
SABIC is displaying a selection of parts produced from its filament portfolio that are representative of typical applications across a variety of industries. These include several concept parts, such as a compact drone design and a hockey face mask, as examples of applications that could benefit from the excellent impact performance and improved low-temperature ductility of new LEXAN EXL AMHI240F filament.

In addition to highlighting parts produced by fused deposition modeling, SABIC is demonstrating the design flexibility and process capability attainable with its developmental sinterable PC powders.

To highlight the practical application of its new materials for large format additive manufacturing, SABIC is exhibiting a section of a boat hull from Livrea Yacht, which was printed on SABIC’s BAAM printer. The outer layer of the hull uses a carbon fiber-reinforced PPE compound, and the inner lattice support structure is printed from a carbon fiber-reinforced ULTEM PEI compound. Using large format additive manufacturing for this application reduces the need for costly molds and prototyping, and yields a lighter, stronger hull in half the time versus traditional fabrication methods.

From material chemistries, to formulations, to production, to part printing expertise, SABIC integrates design, materials and processing, as it has done with traditional polymer processes over the past decades, to bring unique offerings to the additive manufacturing space.

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