Advanced Laser Materials Releases New Powders Powered by BASF

Production-grade powders enable new application opportunities.

Production-grade powders enable new application opportunities.

Advanced Laser Materials (ALM), an EOS company and leader in materials development for industrial 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM), and BASF 3D Printing Solutions, have signed a distribution agreement for four new Forward AM by BASF powder solutions; three in Polyamide 6 (PA6): Ultrasint PA6 FR, Ultrasint PA6 MF, Ultrasint PA6 LM, and one in polypropylene (PP): Ultrasint PP nat 01.

The new PA6 and PP powders will be sold by ALM on behalf of BASF.

Forward AM’s PA6 solutions boast a high Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT) leading to thermal resistance. They also feature in-particle fillers that ensure part consistency and create less waste through many builds.

Ultrasint PA6 MF is a material often used for advanced technical applications where properties of mechanically reinforced thermoplastics are needed. Ultrasint PA6 MF has high rigidity, media tightness and enhanced thermal distortion performance. Successful applications include engine brackets and a high voltage inverter housing used in a new electric vehicle. 

Ultrasint PA6 LM is a special powder material designed to maximize production accessibility to any PBF user. Thanks to its lower melting temperature compared to the other members of the Ultrasint PA6 family, it enables lower processing temperatures, which any PBF equipment can achieve. Its balanced property profile combines mechanical performance with thermal resistance. This advanced material can replace injection molded PA6 parts. Potential applications include engine valve train covers and air intake ducts.

Ultrasint PA6 FR is an advanced engineering polymer powder containing a flame-retardant (FR) additive. Combining mechanical and thermal performance with flammability requirements, it is especially suitable for applications in the electronics and public transportation sector. The halogen-free formulation based on PA6 makes the material unique in the 3D printing industry.

“PA6 has long been the most widely known polymer material used in automotive 3D printing, but also fairly low quality, until now,” says Donnie Vanelli, president of ALM. “What we’ve been able to do here, in coordination with BASF, is enable manufacturers to use the same material from prototype through production.”

In particular, the combination of the EOS INTEGRA P450 machine and Forward AM’s Ultrasint PA6 MF will open up opportunities to print short run parts, eliminating tooling costs and reducing overall part cost, companies say. Some automotive companies, with support from EOS’ Additive Minds applied engineering counselors and BASF’s CAE competence simulation software, UltraSim, have already begun exploring applications for this new material. 

Ultrasint PP nat 01 now harnesses the properties of polyolefins for PBF technologies, delivering characteristics of polypropylene, such as chemical resistance, ductility and media tightness. Thanks to the integration of PP material into PBF technologies, individualized and functional serial production parts can now be printed rapidly on demand. The high rigidity of Ultrasint PP nat 01 not only makes the material especially well-suited to technical applications, but also makes it an economically attractive alternative to commonly used PA12. Successful applications include automotive fluid bottles, and an aerospace sensor cover.

“Forward AM’s Ultrasint Polypropylene is fully weldable and its translucency and media-tightness make it perfect for tanks and reservoir prototypes,” says Jeremy Vos, Automotive and Powderbed manager, BASF. “The ability to leverage high-performance AM materials to do short run production will open up new opportunities for customers in the automotive industry.” 

ALM and BASF partnered in the past on EOS’ flexible, industrial polymer, TPU 1301.

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

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