3D Systems Unveils Advanced Figure 4 Materials Testing

Additive manufacturing company conducts and provides comprehensive, consistent materials test data—enabling engineers to efficiently, effectively evaluate AM production materials for their applications.

Additive manufacturing company conducts and provides comprehensive, consistent materials test data—enabling engineers to efficiently, effectively evaluate AM production materials for their applications.

3D Systems has completed comprehensive testing for its newest Figure 4 materials against ASTM and ISO standards. Materials are at the core of 3D Systems’ digital manufacturing solutions, and in late 2019, the company introduced a host of production-grade materials for its Figure 4 Platform. 

“Until this point, materials testing data provided by the industry has been incomplete for production applications and of little value to engineers accustomed to data that accompanies injection molded plastics,” says Marty Johnson, technical fellow, 3D Systems. “If an engineer is going to use any material for true production applications, they need a comprehensive set of data which meets industry standards in order to evaluate its efficacy.

“3D Systems recognizes how these standards help improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence,” Johnson adds. “Testing to both ASTM and ISO standards allows us to address a broad set of manufacturers worldwide and usher in the use of additive for true production.”

Arming manufacturers with a complete data set to properly screen a material’s appropriateness for their application enables them to immediately proceed to longer term application testing such as life testing of parts/components or higher biocompatibility ratings. As an example, electrical life testing can take anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 hours (approximately 3 to 12 months) to complete including time on the testing equipment, operator time, and time to market. 

Before a company makes such an investment, they want to have assurance that the selected material is appropriate for the application. Having the knowledge of a material’s dielectric properties per industry standards beforehand saves engineers needing to conduct several rounds of testing—at approximately two weeks per material—to find a candidate to pass initial dielectric properties before going into long term life testing.

3D Systems has completed testing for its newest Figure 4 materials designed for production applications: Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10, Figure 4 EGGSHELL-AMB 10, Figure 4 HI TEMP 300-AMB, Figure 4 FLEX-BLK 20, Figure 4 RUBBER-BLK 10, Figure 4 TOUGH-BLK 20, Figure 4 MED-AMB 10, and Figure 4 MED-WHT 10. The company has tested against an extensive set of properties which includes: long-term environmental stability, electrical data, UL94 flammability, biocompatibility, ISO mechanical properties, isotropic mechanical property tolerances, and compatibility with automotive fluids and chemical reagents.

Test data for all materials will be made available March 23 on both the company’s website, as well as in its booth (D8) at AMUG 2020 (Chicago, March 22-26).

These materials have properties that represent improvements in first-time print yield, heat deflection, UV stability, durability, flexibility and impact strength, while also enabling new biocompatible and direct digital production workflows. These materials complement the company’s entire portfolio, which when combined with 3D Systems’ 3D printing technology, software and services enabled its customers to create nearly 200 million production parts in 2019 alone.

3D Systems’ Marty Johnson will address the importance of comprehensive materials test data along with Patrick Dunne, vice president, advanced applications development, in a 2020 AMUG Conference (Chicago) session titled “The Industrialization of AM: High Speed Direct Production with Advanced Polymers” on Wednesday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. 

Other presentations from 3D Systems’ experts include: 

  • “Software as an Enabler for Optimized Manufacturing Workflows”—Radhika Krishnan, executive vice president, software, healthcare & digitization, March 23 at 3 p.m.;
  • David Lindemann, applications engineer, will host two sessions addressing 3DXpert on Tuesday, March 24—“Lattice Structures: Bridging the Gap between Cool Geometry and Physical Structures” and “Optimizing Serial Production with AM Software;”
  • “AM Production of Large Scale, High Precision Investment Casting Patterns for Metal Parts”, Evan Kuester, applications engineer, March 26;
  • Romain Dubreil, product line manager, metal AM, GF Machining Solutions will deliver a session on March 26 detailing the metal AM workflow made possible through a combination of 3D Systems’ and GF Machining Solutions’ products; and
  • 3D Systems will also showcase application-specific digital manufacturing solutions for the Aerospace and Automotive industries alongside GF Machining Solutions in booth D8. 

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

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