Stratasys introduced a new PEKK-based high-performance thermoplastic, which it named Antero 800NA, for its FDM process. The new PEKK material for FDM additive manufacturing offers significant advantages for many manufacturers, including lighter-weight parts, reduced inventories, and improved profitability. Part of the PAEK family of high performance polymers (like PEEK), PEKK (Polyetherketoneketone) is a semi-crystalline thermoplasticwith high heat resistance, chemical resistance and the ability to withstand high mechanical loads. These materials are expected to represent one of the most significant material revenue opportunities in AM in the next decade.
Antero 800NA outperforms other high-performance thermoplastics with its superior chemical resistance and ultra-low outgassing. In addition, the material possesses high temperature resistance and exceptional wear properties. Aerospace and other high-performance vehicle makers wishing to move to an additive manufacturing process are expected to be among the most interested in Antero 800NA.
Its superior chemical resistance means it can be used for components exposed to hydrocarbons, such as fuels and lubricants, as well as many acids. Additionally, its low outgassing allows it to be used in confined spaces and sensitive environments, such as satellites, where materials may not outgas under vacuum. Antero 800NA’s high operating temperature is designed to allow it to be used for applications under the hood or in engine compartments.
Custom or low-volume additive manufacturing with Antero 800NA has economic advantages over traditional machining processes. With traditional processes, manufacturers buy bulk PEKK (available only in limited shapes and sizes) and machine it to a net shape, which wastes a considerable amount of expensive material and has a longer lead time. With an additive process, the workflow is faster, yielding lighter-weight parts with optimized topology and significantly reduced waist.
Another important advantage with the additive process is it allows manufacturers to produce PEKK parts on-demand and eliminate inventory that might sit on a shelf for years before being needed. The reduction in inventory costs means increased profitability.
Besides space, aerospace and automotive, target industries include high-end industrial manufacturing as well as oil-and-gas applications.
Unlike PEKK parts made with some powder-based additive processes, Antero 800NA parts created with the FDM process are more durable and dimensionally stable, even when building large parts. They are also cost-effective to produce, even at low quantities.
Antero 800NA’s advantages over competing additive processes include a better elongation in the X and Z axis, resulting in tougher part, with consistent mechanical properties. Low-volume cost advantages, combined with large-part dimensional stability result in overall FDM technology advantages, including ease-of-use and design freedom.
Antero 800NA is the first commercial product in a planned new family of PEKK-based materials. The material will be offered with an initial layer thickness of 0.010 in (0.25mm) and additional layer-thickness options planned for future release.
Antero 800NA is expected to be available for use on Stratasys’ Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer in Q2, 2018, and for the Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer in Q4, 2018. Existing Fortus 450mc users with the high-performance material bundle will be able to use Antero 800NA without additional license fees. Fortus 450mc users without the high-performance materials bundle can purchase the high-performance material bundle or an individual material license. Fortus 450mc systems will require the Nylon 12CF hardware upgrade along with a new tip and purge ledge to operate the Antero 800NA material.