Evonik launches new photopolymers for industrial AM, improves PA12 VESTAMID carbon footprint

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German chemicals firm Evonik has expanded its INFINAM materials portfolio with the launch of two new photopolymers for industrial 3D printing, INFINAM RG 3101 L and INFINAM FL 6300 L.

The new materials will make their debut at next month’s Formnext trade show in Frankfurt, and are suitable for use in photopolymer 3D printing processes such as SLA and DLP. 

The company also revealed it has significantly lowered the carbon footprint of producing its PA12 VESTAMID powder, receiving a TÜV Rheinland certification for the material’s life cycle assessment. 

“We are relentlessly putting our global innovation strength into the development of new photopolymers that enable infinite applications,” said Rainer Hahn, Head of the Market Segment Photopolymers in the Additive Manufacturing Growth Field at Evonik. “In this way, we are resolutely driving large-scale industrial 3D printing forward.

“The Formnext trade show is one of the most important international industry venues for 3D printing. We are therefore very pleased to present our latest ready-to-use high-performance materials here for the first time.”

Evonik and Cubicure's INFINAM FL 6300 L resin. Photo via Evonik.
Evonik and Cubicure’s INFINAM FL 6300 L resin. Photo via Evonik.

Evonik’s INFINAM portfolio

Under its Smart Materials division, Evonik’s product offering includes 3D printing software and a wide range of polymer printing materials, many of which it rebranded under the INFINAM name in October 2020.

In addition to the latest additions, the INFINAM portfolio includes the firm’s PEEK, impact-resistant photopolymer (TI), thermoplastic copolyester (TPC), and amide (TPA) printing materials. In December 2020, Evonik secured a minority stake in Chinese industrial SLA 3D printer manufacturer UnionTech in a move that will see the introduction of new formulations to the INFINAM product line.

In March, Evonik added a new ready-to-use, high-temperature PEEK filament to the range, INFINAM PEEK 9359 F, which is suitable for the 3D printing of industrial plastic parts. Compatible with extrusion-based processes like FDM, the material is designed as a metal replacement for demanding industrial applications within sectors such as automotive, aerospace, and oil and gas. 

Meanwhile, in May, the company launched a new photopolymer resin product line for use with most open materials SLA or DLP machines. Initially made up of INFINAM TI 3100 L and INFINAM ST 6100 L, the product line formed Evonik’s first entry into resin 3D printing.

INFINAM PEEK 9359 F high perfomance polymer as a metal replacement for additive manufacturing of demanding industrial plastic parts. Photo via Evonik.
Evonik launched its INFINAM PEEK 9359 F high perfomance polymer in March. Photo via Evonik.

New INFINAM photopolymer materials

The two newest additions to the INFINAM brand are engineered specifically for industrial 3D printing applications and add to the product line of synthetic resins launched by the company in May. 

The first, INFINAM RG 3101, is designed for use with SLA and DLP 3D printing technologies. The material is engineered to exhibit excellent impact and temperature resistance while maintaining thermomechanical performance over an extended period of time. The material can be used to 3D print components such as drones, buckles, and automotive parts that are resistant to fractures when subjected to strong forces. 

The second addition, INFINAM FL 6300 L, has been developed by Evonik in partnership with Viennese 3D printing firm Cubicure since 2019. According to the companies, Cubicure’s hot lithography 3D printing technology has made it possible to process highly viscous light-curing polyester-based resins for the first time.

Hot lithography differs from conventional stereolithography by creating parts at an elevated processing temperature utilizing light-induced polymerization and therefore facilitating a wider range of processable components.

INFINAM FL 6300 L is the first industrially suitable elastomer produced that is compatible with Cubicure’s hot lithography process. The resin enables the 3D printing of highly flexible 3D objects that excel in material properties essential for elastomers, such as low-temperature elasticity and dynamic load cycles up to one million.

“INFINAM FL 6300 L enables completely new manufacturing possibilities in the field of elastic components,” said Robert Gmeiner, CEO of Cubicure. Thanks to the high precision with which the elastomer is processed in our hot lithography systems, it is possible for the first time to produce the most complex structures from a rubber-like material. 

“The sports industry is showing great interest in using the material for cushioning elements in shoes, grips, or backpacks.”

Comparison of the CO2 footprint, water consumption and land use of conventionally produced polyamide 12, biobased long-chain polyamides and with biomethane-produced PA12. Image via Evonik.
Comparison of the CO2 footprint, water consumption and land use of conventionally produced PA12, biobased long-chain polyamides and with biomethane-produced PA12. Image via Evonik.

Improving sustainability of PA12 VESTAMID

Alongside its new material launches, Evonik has also revealed a new development concerning the carbon footprint of its PA12 VESTAMID material. Selected commercial VESTAMID products can now be manufactured using sustainable energy at the firm’s Marl Chemical Park in Germany.

Evonik has been producing PA12 at the site for more than 50 years using the electricity and steam produced by its own combined heat and power plants. By using biomethane generated from the plant’s waste, carbon dioxide emissions for the production of PA12 VESTAMID are reportedly reduced by an average of 40 percent, while water consumption and land use are more than 99 percent lower. 

Labeled with the suffix RFP for “reduced footprint” by TÜV Rheinland’s life cycle assessment certification in September, the VESTAMID RFP compounds show a significantly improved eco-balance in comparison to how they were produced previously.

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Featured image shows Evonik and Cubicure’s INFINAM FL 6300 L resin. Photo via Evonik.