3M develops new technology for 3D printing polymers
The new tech enables users to 3D print complex PTFE polymer structures in one single process.
3M has developed a new technology that will enable 3D printing of fluorinated polymers.
This technology allows users to print complex structures, which otherwise cannot be produced or only produced with expensive traditional processing techniques.
As additive manufacturing becomes more and more commonplace, the range of 3D printing materials is also expanding. 3M’s new technology allows for complex geometries to be printed using fluoropolymer PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene).
3M’s subsidiary Dyneon will introduce this new technology at the at the K show in Dusseldorf this October.
Now, users are able to 3D print polymer structures in one single process rather than extensive pre- and post-processing that is needed. The development also makes it possible to 3D print spare parts and customized designs on demand without needing to use expensive traditional processing techniques. As part of the development, 3M is pioneering the 3D printing of PTFE which is used in a wide range of applications such as sealing and lining.
“3D printing is developing at a rapid pace and is opening up a number of exciting developments for the processing of fully-fluorinated polymers, particularly for PTFE which is a real quantum leap,” says Paula Johnson-Mason, Global Director Fluoropolymers. “This additional new manufacturing process will give us increased flexibility and accelerate product design cycles as spare parts can be manufactured digitally without the need to create new tools”.
The new technology also offers a more sustainable manufacturing solution due to potential material savings and a reduction in waste. This is achieved as the traditional method for creating prototype parts from PTFE creates significant waste. With 3D printing, however, waste is minimal and unused material can be used for subsequent printing jobs.