The race to produce new filament materials is on, with many large companies throughout the world studying new polymers and polymer combinations. As mentioned a few days ago, colorFabb is a company that finds itself in the very centre of this rapidly evolving scenario, being able to combine its direct contact with the desktop 3D printing community and its ability to cover the entire production cycle, from research to retailing, while at the same time entertaining direct business relations with large plastic producers, through its Helian Polymers parent company.
The latest partnership with the Eastman Chemical company is a direct result of this. With yearly revenues of $9.4 billion and 40 manufacturing locations (and several offices for a total employee count of approximately 14000 persons worldwide), Eastman is one of the largest players in the development of a broad range of materials destined for safe a reliable consumer use of everyday products. Specifically referring to polymers, Eastman produces something like 245 different types of polymers, copolymers, polyesters and so on (and so forth).
Working with Eastman, colorFabb developed its XT line of materials, and now, in direct partnership with the materials giant, the Dutch company intends to present a new line of materials in a joint booth at the upcoming 3D Printshow in London, next September 4th to 6th. “We are very glad to be working with Eastman on this project,” Ruud Rouleaux, managing director of Helian Polymers, commented. “This new offering will open a huge window of opportunity to the 3D printing industry.”
ColorFabb developed this new materials to exhibit a set of unique features, including high toughness, high clarity, low odour (it is styrene free) and fully food contact compliant. This is combined with a glass transition temperature (TG) of above 75° C.The The TG is is the temperature at which an amorphous material, in this case an amorphous polymer, goes from a hard and relatively brittle state to a molten state (and can thus be extruded). A higher temperature (PLA has a TG aroung 60°-65° C) means the material is more resistant and durable.
This also means that parts 3D printed with this new line of materials will have more functionality, opening the way to a wider than ever set of possible consumer applications. As we said before, materials are the key to consumer 3D printing, as to all 3D printing, and colorFabb is getting ready to “XTurn it”.