3D Systems & EMS-GRILTECH Enter Strategic Partnership

Leveraged combined expertise to introduce DuraForm PAx Natural— a material available for all Selective Laser Sintering platforms.

Leveraged combined expertise to introduce DuraForm PAx Natural— a material available for all Selective Laser Sintering platforms.

DuraForm PAx unlocks the accuracy, part flexibility, and unrestricted design freedom the custom and semi-custom orthotics industry requires, according to 3D Systems. Image courtesy of 3D Systems.

3D Systems and EMS-GRILTECH report they have entered into a strategic partnership to enhance additive manufacturing materials development. Combining 3D Systems’ expertise as an additive manufacturing solutions partner with EMS-GRILTECH’s (a Business Unit of EMS Group) expertise in the specialized manufacturing of polyamides has enabled the companies to introduce a nylon copolymer—DuraForm PAx Natural.

This material has properties similar to injection-molded plastics and features high impact resistance with high elongation at break in any direction. DuraForm PAx Natural is designed to be used with any commercially available selective laser sintering (SLS) printer, regardless of the manufacturer—facilitating ease of integration into existing production workflows.

3D Systems is the exclusive distributor of this material, which can be used to manufacture lightweight, production-grade parts for applications such as orthotics, tooling handles, splints and braces, ducting in rugged environments, living hinges, liquid reservoirs and enclosures requiring high impact and high toughness. DuraForm PAx Natural is designed to print at a low temperature (i.e., 120°C), which facilitates efficiencies in printing and post-processing.

The low printing temperature of this material enables high throughput, and its designation as a clean running material results in low operator maintenance, 3D Systems reports. With the lower printing temperature, parts can be ready to ship the day after an order is received. 

DuraForm PAx Natural has long-term stability ratings of over 5 years indoor for mechanical properties and color. When parts are post-processed using vapor-honing, finished parts have translucency and smooth finish. In addition, the vapor-honed DuraForm PAx Natural material moves the elongation at yield capability past that of PA-11 and PA-12 materials. This material also has high reuse rates. 

“We’re very excited to be able to collaborate with EMS-GRILTECH in a way that allows us to not only advance our innovation roadmap but also advance materials performance for the industry,” says Dr. Edwin Hortelano, senior vice president, materials engineering & development, 3D Systems. “With DuraForm PAx Natural, we’re not only bringing a superior product with leading mechanical properties, we’re also delivering a new material for use with any SLS printing technology, which we intend to expand to other powder-bed fusion platforms.”

“The EMS Group is an established worldwide leader in high-performance polymers for injection molding and powder-based applications,” says Simon Maier, head of sales and marketing at EMS-GRILTECH. “EMS-GRILTECH has observed the powder bed fusion (PBF) additive manufacturing industry with keen interest over the last years, realizing that the technology is limited by the performance of the available materials.”

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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