Mar 29, 2016 | By Benedict

Ingeo 3D860, NatureWorks’ new sustainable formulation for PLA filament, promises high impact strength and heat resistance typically associated with ABS, combined with the ease of 3D printing for which PLA is known. The filament formulation was unveiled today at the ‘Innovation Takes Root’ forum.

While many 3D printing innovators are constantly seeking new materials with which they can 3D print, others simply look to make established 3D printing materials as good as they can possibly be. NatureWorks is no conservative when it comes to materials experimentation, but its latest 3D printing filament formulation, Ingeo 3D860, looks to breathe new life into an established filament classic: PLA.

Last year, Earth-friendly materials specialist NatureWorks launched its 3D850 grade PLA, with the 3D860 building on the success of that earlier formulation. According to the Blair, Nebraska-based company, the latest Ingeo formulation will, like its predecessors, offer consumers a practical, safe, and cost effective alternative to mainstream styrenics such as ABS.

Outside of the scientific community, ABS is perhaps best known as the material out of which which LEGO bricks are made. Within the 3D printing industry, however, ABS remains a divisive material. Many 3D printing businesses favor the material over PLA for its superior strength and heat resistance—properties which make it more suitable than PLA for critical applications.

Despite its desirable material properties, ABS can cause greater environmental problems than PLA, which is biodegradable. NatureWorks seeks to promote green plastics use, by making its PLA formulations from entirely natural sources, encouraging responsible use, and—mostly importantly—by creating a product which rivals its alternatives in material quality.

The environmental advantages afforded by NatureWorks 3D printing filament do not, of course, preclude their 3D printing quality. Conversely, the new Ingeo 3D860 has been engineered to rival ABS in terms of impact and heat performance, and can be depended upon for the 3D printing (and injection molding) of durable parts. To unlock the ABS-level strength and heat resistance for 3D printing applications, NatureWorks recommends a brief 10-15 minute period of annealing at temperatures between 212 and 239ºF (100 and 115ºC).

Each Ingeo formulation makes use of dextrose sugar found in plants. The carbon and other elements in dextrose sugar are used to make a biopolymer through fermentation and separation. With a greater focus now placed on green and renewable methods of production, NatureWorks sees this process as the key selling point for its products. “Many brands desire a bio-based, low carbon footprint alternative to styrenics,” said Dan Sawyer, Global Leader, New Business Segment, NatureWorks. “With the addition of Ingeo 3D860, we are providing an option that now enables users to create functional industrial parts or finished goods.”

NatureWorks has been striving to produce environmentally friendly plastics since its inception in 1989, but its focus on 3D printing materials is a relatively recent endeavor. In its mission to breach the 3D printing market, the company established a three-pronged approach, consisting of the introduction of 3D printer-specific Ingeo grades; a full suite of technical support services for 3D printing customers; and the creation of an in-house print lab, designed to enable the quick and efficient testing of new 3D printing materials, at its Blair headquarters.

The new PLA 3D printing filament formulation was unveiled today at the Innovation Takes Root forum, established by NatureWorks to connect and inform Ingeo users, in Orlando, Florida. The forum continues until April 1. The Ingeo 3D860 formulation has been demonstrated by filament supplier 3Dom, which has used the grade for a new filament. According to NatureWorks, 3Dom and other suppliers have responded positively to the new formulation.

“We’ve had positive feedback from some industrial users that now view this as a viable alternative to ABS for some of their production jigs and fixtures,” Sawyer explained. “3D860 also allows for rapid prototyping with the ability to approximate the physical properties achievable in injection molded parts made with ABS or with one of our Ingeo durables formulations.”



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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jd90 wrote at 3/29/2016 11:54:28 PM:

PLA is not biodegradable in nature, it's a bit irresponsible to perpetuate that. It requires a special temperature circumstances, I think even above what composting can achieve.

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