Together with 3D Systems, PLM Group is elevating 3D printing to new levels of performance and productivity with the introduction of four new Figure 4 production-capable photopolymers. These include flame retardant, tough and rigid materials. All materials enable long-term mechanical performance and environmental stability for advanced applications and high productivity batch manufacturing for bridge or pilot production.
“There is an increasing focus on end-use part production using 3D printing”, says Kurt Due Petersen, application engineer at PLM Group. “This means long term stability is also increasingly important. Especially for end-use and spare parts in relations to product warranty, because it ensures the parts are safe for use even after a certain amount of years.”
Improved flame retardant 3D printed parts
Figure 4 High Temp 150C FR Black, is a halogen-free material with a very high HDT for all types of flame retardant applications including printed circuit board covers and housings that require UL 94 V0 test rating, underhood automotive housings, covers and harness retention components and aerospace FAR 23/25 in-cabin parts.
“Flame Retardant 3D printing materials are not new, but a majority are made for FDM printers”, says Kurt Due Petersen. “It’s important to understand that these FDM materials can’t match the detail level or the isotropic strength. For example, with the new Figure 4 flame retardant material, you can print a wall thickness all the way down to 2 millimeters. This can’t even be achieved with any other resin-based 3D printer on the market today. Also, the throughput with the Figure 4 is significantly higher than with a FDM machine.”
Now possible to sterilize 3D printed parts with more methods
The Figure 4 Tough 60C White is suitable for repeatable, high mechanical loads at elevated temperatures. Ideal for skin-touch wearables and medical parts requiring ISO-10993-5 and 10993-10 biocompatible capability.
“The big news here is that parts printed in Tough 60C White can be sterilized with the most common processes, such as autoclave or UV light”, says Kurt Due Petersen. “3D Systems also provides a guide to part behaviour after sterilization, which is unique to material documentation.”
Figure 4 Tough 65C Black was developed for repeatable, high mechanical loads at elevated temperatures. Ideal for consumer or industrial snap-fits, brackets, sensors, handles, clips, holders, and mounts.
“This is as close to ABS that you can come as the majority of the specifications for the Tough 65C Black are identical”, says Kurt Due Petersen. “This is ideal for spare parts, as so many parts are produced in ABS. Many companies offer tens of years in warranty. This means they have to store the mold and when a need arises, production times can take several days. It also means they have to produce a minimum batch for storage. With 3D printing, all production is on demand, down to just one part.”
Lastly, the Figure 4 Rigid Gray, is ideal for all types of rigid static plastic parts including casings, panels, trim, especially parts requiring painting, plating and laser-etching.
“Property-wise, this material is similar to PRO-BLK 10 and RIGID WHITE, but users now have the ability to print in the color grey”, says Kurt Due Petersen. “The big difference here is that users can now also benefit from long-term stability. The Figure 4 Rigid Gray is also a good alternative to the SLA material Accura Extreme.”
These new Figure 4 materials are uniquely engineered for long-term mechanical performance and environmental stability. Unlike typical 3D printed photopolymers, these materials are tested for 8 years of indoor and 1.5 years of outdoor mechanical performance per the US standards ASTM D4329 and ASTM G194 methods. This ensures that printed parts remain functional and stable for prolonged durations.
“3D Systems once again shows that the width of materials add value to the Figure 4 platform”, says Kurt Due Petersen. “The documentation that 3D Systems provides for each material, for example mechanical performance over time and more, is unique. Also, the end-to-end build time compared to similar solutions is extremely fast. Oftentimes this is due to the fact that printed parts don’t need any postprocessing, such as overnight heat treatment.”