Oct 19, 2016 | By Alec

It looks like HP’s Jet Fusion 3D printing platform is only becoming more and more appealing. Up to ten times faster than competing machines and capable of cutting down production costs by up to 50 percent, the Jet Fusion 3D Printer already has the potential to actually be used for industrial scale manufacturing. In fact, HP used that same technology to 3D print up to half of all plastic parts of their Jet Fusion 3D printers. Meanwhile HP is rapidly expanding their list of compatible materials, and German polymer specialist Evonik has now revealed that they will be releasing a food compatible, FDA-approved PA-12 powder that makes the 3D printing of utensils, cups, containers and plates possible.

This latest announcement is made possible by HP’s custom material platform, which is certainly another thing that make their Jet Fusion 3D printers so appealing. While many industrial 3D printer manufacturers seek to monopolize their own material market, HP maintains what they call the Open Platform model – through which materials developers can work hand-in-hand with HP to create new powders for the Jet Fusion 3D printer.

As a result, HP is rapidly benefiting from the material expertise of various external partners. Other materials developers who will be contributing 3D printing powders through the HP Open Platform include Arkema, a global chemicals company headquartered in France; BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, headquartered in Germany; and Lehmann & Voss, a chemicals and minerals specialist, also from Germany.

Evonik is now thus the newest partner, and is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Though they are active in key markets such as health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization, 3D printing is also increasingly appearing on the Evonik radar. The company already fabricates a number of polyamide 12-based powders for 3D printing under the VESTOSINT brand. These powders are produced at Evonik’s facility in Marl, Germany, using a proprietary manufacturing process. To meet the rising demand for 3D printing materials, Evonik previously revealed to be expanding their production facilities for VESTOSINT by around 50 percent, with a new production line expected to begin operations at the end of 2017.

Specifically Evonik will initially be incorporating their VESTOSINT® 3D Z2773 into HP’s Open Platform program. Aside from fantastic mechanical properties of this new PA-12 powder, its biggest selling point is that this material has been approved by the FDA for food contact – meaning that HP’s Jet Fusion users can use this PA-12 powder to 3D print objects that actively come into contact with food. “The use of additive manufacturing technologies in food production equipment components which require flexibility due to limited quantities or unique, complex designs is conceivable,” the Germans say.

What’s more, a lot more materials can be expected in the near future, revealed Dr. Matthias Kottenhahn, Head of the Business Line High Performance Polymers of Evonik. “Through the close partnership with HP and our active participation in the open platform program we anticipate further impetus in the development of new plastic powders for 3D printing use”, Kottenhahn said. Among others, materials used for automotive and aircraft applications can be expected.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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