Solvay reveals the winners of its Additive Manufacturing Cup 2019

Solvay, a Belgian chemical company, has revealed the winners of its Additive Manufacturing Cup 2019 (AM Cup). The AM Cup is a contest that pits university students from around the world against each other to compete in 3D printing complex shapes using a specific filament from Solvay. The competition was launched to empower talented design and engineering students with high-performance 3D printing filaments, in order to demonstrate the potential of the company’s materials.

This year, students were tasked with 3D printing a replica of an ASTM D638 Type V size tensile bar in the z-axis, and a wavy-shaped pressure pipe, using Solvay’s Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) filament. The winners were selected by an international jury from a pool of 35 student teams from 32 different universities across three continents. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, won top prize with ten thousand euros, whereas two teams from Ghent University, Belgium, came in at second and third, winning five and three thousand euros respectively.

“It was inspiring to see the various approaches to solving the challenges of fused filament fabrication (FFF) such as bed adhesion and chamber temperature management,” commented Ryan Hammonds, R&D platform manager for Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit and president of the AM Cup Jury.

“The winning team demonstrated once more that 3D printed parts can virtually match the performance and quality of conventional injection molded parts, provided material, hardware, and process are optimized together.”

The AM Cup 2019 Winners. Image via Solvay.
The AM Cup 2019 Winners. Image via Solvay.

Gekko Performance achieves optimal 3D printing

The competition seeks to provide “this disruptive, revolutionary technology” in the hands of young minds looking to experiment with 3D design capabilities. Based on this, the judges selected the winners while considering the creativity of the 3D printing methods, as well as the submission’s ability to meet certain criteria, like maximum dimensional accuracy, mechanical performance and translucency.

‘Gekko Performance’ from TUM was deemed the overall winner as the team was able to optimize its 3D printing process and equipment. Gekko Performance managed a 100% z-axis strength in its Type V size tensile bar submission, while the team’s wavy pipe demonstrated overall dimensional accuracy and surface uniformity. The part was also tested to show excellent mechanical performance by Solvay, as it was able to endure burst pressure tests of 1,400 psi (96.5 bar) for a period of two hours. These properties enabled Gekko Performance to secure first prize, whereas PPSUsual and PPSUPER from Ghent University were judged to have the next best in tensile modulus, tensile strength, and ductility. The teams were awarded second and third place respectively, with very little between them.

Solvay will be exhibiting the three winning submissions at the Rapid + TCT show in Detroit, MI (Booth #747), which takes place later this month from May 21 – 23. “We look forward to sharing with our customers the benefits gained from this edition of the Solvay AM Cup for 3D printing the best possible PPSU parts for applications in various industries such as aerospace, healthcare and industrial,” added Hammonds.

The Solvay AM Cup 2019 winning wavy-shaped pressure pipe from Gekko Performance, 3D printed in Radel PPSU. Image via Solvay.
The Solvay AM Cup 2019 winning wavy-shaped pressure pipe from Gekko Performance, 3D printed in Radel PPSU. Image via Solvay.

Solvay’s material specialty

Solvay’s Speciality Polymers range was initiated by the company in a bid to become a leader in the additive manufacturing market, which is sold through the Solvay AM Shop e-commerce platform. As well as the Radel PPSU filament, which has applications in the medical, dental and aerospace industries, the company also provides its KetaSpire (PEEK and CFR PEEK) filaments on the platform.

Using the AM Cup, Solvay is aiming to explore and portray the capabilities of its filaments. While this year the competition centered on the Radel PPSU, last year the company asked students to 3D print the Solvay logo using its KetaSpire PEEK filament, with a focus on demonstrating the high performance of the thermoplastic.

Other competitions that focus on the creative use of 3D printing includes the Additive Manufacturing Challenge from Netherlands-based Additive Industries, and the 3D Printing Project Award from online 3D printing and CNC service provider Weerg. Furthermore, there’s the trophy design competition for the 2019 3D Printing Industry Awards, which saw a range of creative attempts at designing a trophy for our annual 3D printing awards show. You can view some of the highlighted entries here.

You can now cast your vote for the third annual 3D Printing Industry Awards. Help decide this year’s winners now.

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Featured image shows the Solvay AM Cup 2019 winning wavy-shaped pressure pipe from Gekko Performance, 3D printed in Radel PPSU. Image via Solvay.