Chinese 3D printer manufacturer Farsoon Technologies has strengthened its partnership with French materials producer FABULOUS for the development of 3D printable materials for food contact and drinking water applications.
The two companies are seeking to help end-users with new materials specific to industrial applications, namely BLUECARE for the food contact industry, and ACTIVE mainly suited to the water sector.
Engineered by FABULOUS, the innovative materials are specifically designed for use with powder bed systems, and have been successfully tested on Farsoon’s machines.
Farsoon’s plastic laser sintering capabilities
Also known as Fiber Light technology, Farsoon’s Flight Technology is a 3D printing process engineered to enhance the productivity of plastic laser sintering. Flight Technology was first introduced in 2019 with the launch of the company’s 403P system, a medium format polymer SLS machine designed for heavy-duty professional applications.
The process works by replacing standard CO₂ laser technology with powerful fiber lasers in order to increase laser longevity and energy absorption. This process expands the range of processable materials for Farsoon’s 3D printing systems and enables powders to be fully sintered more rapidly.
According to Farsoon, its Flight Technology “unlocks the next level of LPBF productivity” for industrial-grade parts, offering extremely fine details with a minimum wall thickness of just 0.3 mm. As such, the technology is suited to applications such as electronic components, robotics, specialized tools and models, battery units, and other consumer products.
Opening up food and water applications
Based on bio-sourced PA11, FABULOUS’ new BLUECARE material is certified for food contact applications in line with the EU’s 10/2011 regulation on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and alcohol.
Farsoon’s customer, IDPRINT 3D printing service based in France, has used the BLUECARE powder to design and 3D print modular food conveyor belts. According to the company, the material is ideal for producing the conveyor belts, which span 30cm in width.
Mr Panchot, IDPRINT 3D manager, added: “BLUECARE is the ideal material for additive manufacturing of parts for food conveyors, avoiding the manufacture of a mold that is too expensive for the number of parts to be made.”
The other material developed by FABULOUS, called ACTIVE, is specific to the water industry having received ACS certification for potable water applications and plastic parts that come into contact with drinkable water. These parts include water pumps, hydraulic systems, data sensors, and permanent water-immersed parts.
ACTIVE’s composite formulation means it possesses excellent resistance to high and low temperatures. 3D printing service provider, and Farsoon’s customer, Ricoh 3D, is using ACTIVE to manufacture water pump strainers.
As part of Farsoon’s partnership with FABULOUS, for orders less than 600 kilograms the materials producer will develop a dedicated “masterbatch” for Farsoon’s customers. The dedicated batch will be engineered with end-users’ own formulations to meet the needs of their desired small series applications.
Food contact 3D printing
3D printing firms have made increasing progress in the certification of processes and materials for producing parts specifically for use within food production facilities.
Post-processing specialist Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) has worked with the Danish Technological Institute to post-process 3D printed parts that meet EU food safety standards. Similarly, Ultimaker S5 Pro 3D printers are being used to produce a variety of food-safe parts in a ‘Clean Manufacturing Facility’ set up by equipment supplier ERIKS.
Elsewhere, Dutch 3D printing firm Oceanz has been awarded European Food Grade certification EC 1935/2004 for its range of polymer 3D printing materials. The certification validates the company’s PA12 Food Grade materials are safe for 3D printing parts which come into close contact with food.
Nominations for the 2021 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open, have your say who is leading the industry now.
Looking for a career in additive manufacturing? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest 3D printing video shorts, reviews and webinar replays.
Featured image shows Ricoh 3D has used FABULOUS’ ACTIVE material to 3D print water pump strainers. Image via Farsoon Technologies.