Importance of the “powder designer” for additive manufacturing and the main questions regarding the use and production of materials

Importance of the "powder designer" for additive manufacturing and the main questions regarding the use and production of materials

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Dressler recalls that his company was the first to grind TPU to a quality level suitable for AM. Although they succeeded in doing the same with polypropylene (PP), Dressler draws attention to the fact that when it comes to material selection and design, other factors are now at play. and taken into account in decision-making processes, in particular”Sustainability, Recycling, Bioplasticsetc.”

However, while it makes sense to consider these factors given the more pressing climate change issues, let us not forget that the stakeholders most affected (producers of materials) in this debate must remain profitable. In AM in particular, industrialization usually leads to profitability. So the million dollar question in this equation is: Recycled materials (and their derivatives) can lead to industrialization ?

Dressler tries to provide an answer: In our opinion, in general, recycled materials are suitable for demanding industrial applications. However, it is not yet as effective as the “virgin” raw materials. To give an example, we know that by using polyamide 12 in laser sintering, the material aging significantly during the process. What happens to the substance and the powder is very complicated [mais c’est un autre sujet]. However, what we can say is that in the process of building an average building, about 10-20% of the materials used are converted into components. Another 25-40% of the powder is less heat stress and therefore can be reused without problems. The rest is so stressed that it must be refreshed with the same amount of new powder before it can be recycled. Other materials, such as PP, are inherently less susceptible to aging, but filled polyamide (filled with a reinforcing material) is more susceptible than unreinforced polyamide.

However, a lot is currently happening in this area. For example, a new approach to processing technology should make it possible in the future to combine 80% of reused materials with 20% of new materials, with a tolerable loss of quality.

However, recycling will become increasingly common in the future, simply due to stricter environmental regulations and cost pressures, even in high-tech applications.. »

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In its six years in the AM business, DG has evolved more or less away from the trade press, into stealth mode — a fair strategy for any company looking to adequately prove the concept. Grinding may still be at the heart of AM’s business, but I believe the company creates the highest value through comprehensive solutions”Plug and playWhich delivers impeccable quality from batch to batch through “Powder Design”. That’s how the AM business works anyway.

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