Essentium Inc., the Texas-based 3D printer manufacturer behind High Speed Extrusion (HSE) technology, has announced a partnership with chemical and mineral materials specialist LEHVOSS Group to develop high-performance materials for additive manufacturing.
The materials, comprising a line of PEEK and High-Temperature Nylon (HTN), were created specifically for production-level extrusion-based 3D printing processes. They are designed to meet the standards set by high-performance applications in aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, biomedical and electronic manufacturing industries.
Released after two years of collaborative research and development between Essentium and LEHVOSS, the materials combine both their respective materials expertise. Thomas Collet, Director 3D Printing Materials & Marketing, LEHVOSS Group, commented: “Partnering with Essentium is a win-win for our industrial customers. Essentium is at the forefront of material science and together we will create a wider range of 3D printing materials certified to meet the performance standards they expect in their end-use parts.”
“Not only will this speed time-to-market and lower the cost to produce the highest quality parts, it will also spur innovation for new additive manufacturing applications.”
High Speed Extrusion technology
Headquartered in College Station, east Texas, Essentium is the developer of HSE and FlashFuse additive manufacturing technology. FlashFuse is a method of “FDM electric welding.” In this method, the electric charge of plasma is harnessed to improve 3D printed part strength across the Z axis.
HSE on the other hand refers to Essentium’s proprietary 3D printing platform that uses a heating unit and nozzle to adjust to temperatures from 20-600 degrees when 3D printing. Initially unveiled in 2018, HSE intends to address both the speed and strength issues with traditional FDM/FFF 3D printers. In 2019, Essentium exhibited its 180-S 3D printer combining both FlashFuse and HSE technology in one system.
Essentium has harnessed an open ecosystem for its 3D printing technology, developed in collaboration with BASF and Materialise, which offers customers greater control and choice in hardware, software and materials. Bart Van der Schueren, Materialise’ CTO explains that the partnership was formed in order to “promote a more open market model, which will fuel the adoption of 3D printing in the industrial field by offering users more control, more choice in materials and ultimately lower cost and higher volumes.”
The three partners have worked together to advance high-speed additive manufacturing, and as such, Essentium and BASF have also collaborated to develop materials for the HSE platform. Additionally, at Formnext 2019, Essentium introduced four new high-temperature filaments for the HSE platform including PEEK, HTN, HTN-CF25 and HTN-Z (ESD safe).
Developing robust materials for the factory floor
The LEHVOSS Group is a subsidiary of Lehmann&Voss&Co, a Hamburg-based chemical firm originally founded in 1894 as a trading company. LEHVOSS Group comprises a group of companies in the chemicals sector that develops, produces and markets chemical and mineral specialities for various clients. The company provides two product lines dedicated to 3D printing: LUVOSINT and LUVOCOM 3F, dedicated to SLS and FFF 3D printing technologies respectively.
Essentium explains that it partnered with LEHVOSS in response to the low performance of materials optimized but not specifically developed for 3D printing, which has thus inhibited the advancement of additive manufacturing, according to the firm. Therefore, the partnership aims to combine LEHVOSS’ extensive experience in thermoplastic high-performance compounds with Essentium’s knowledge in polymer and composite chemistry to develop production materials for use in a wide range of industry applications.
Essentium has thus launched a line of PEEK and HTN materials developed using LEHVOSS’ LUVOCOM 3F compounds. They are designed to provide easy printability, non-warping properties, heat and chemical resistance, and high mechanical strength in order to facilitate the production of quality end-parts for the factory floor. Certified for use on Essentium’s HSE 3D printing platform, the materials are geared towards applications in mechanical engineering, medical technology and automotive.
Brandon Sweeney, Ph.D., Head of R&D for Materials and Co-founder, Essentium, concludes: “With LEHVOSS we have a true partner who shares our passion in applying material science innovation to accelerate industrial-scale additive manufacturing. We have already seen strong demand for our PEEK and HTN materials and look forward to developing new materials that give manufacturers the trust and confidence to shift from prototyping to full-scale production using 3D printing.”
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Featured image shows pin bracket developed in Essentium’s new PEEK material. Photo via Essentium.