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Material support for direct digital manufacturing

08 February 2010

Stratasys has made four more materials compatible with its Fortus 900mc 3D production system, demonstrating further support for the direct digital manufacturing community

irect digital manufacturing (DDM) is the process of producing parts directly from CAD data using additive fabrication. This highly efficient and economical technique is often used to create manufacturing tools, such as jigs and fixtures, as well as low-volume manufacturing of end-use parts. Achieving the desired physical and mechanical properties for these rapidly manufactured parts depends very much on the build materials that can be processed via the DDM technique.

Stratasys is a leader in this field and recently made four more build materials and an additional support material compatible with its Fortus 900mc 3D DDM system, including SABIC's Ultem 9085, and its own PC-ABS, PC-ISO, and ABS-M30i materials. These options more than double the number of materials that are now compatible with this machine, to provide a variety of physical and mechanical properties, including FST (flame, smoke, toxicity) compliance, heat resistance, medical-sterilisation capability, strength, and flexibility for prototyping and production. These new materials now join existing products within the portfolio, including ABS-M30, PC, and PPSF/PPSU (polyphenylsulfone).

Ultem 9085 is a strong and lightweight thermoplastic widely used in the construction of aircraft interiors and other transport applications. The material is heat resistant to 160oC and offers full FST compliance. It is flexible and has a very high strength-to-weight ratio, making it an ideal material for applications with demanding mechanical requirements.
PC-ABS is a widely used industrial thermoplastic blend and is commonly used in automotive, electronics, and telecommunications applications. The material provides customers with the same strength and heat-resistance characteristics as other Stratasys PC materials but is more flexible.

The addition of PC-ISO presents users with a tough polycarbonate material that can be sterilised for medical device or surgical jig and fixture production or prototyping. It is also useful in food and pharmaceutical handling applications, where high impact and flexural strength plus high temperature resistance is necessary. The material is suitable for applications requiring ISO 10993 certification or ethylene oxide sterilisation. Like PC-ISO, ABS-M30i is a biocompatible material for direct digital manufacturing applications in the medical, food, and pharmaceutical equipment industries where ISO 10993 compliance or ethylene oxide sterilisation may be required. ABS-M30i offers substantial improvements over standard Stratasys ABS, including high tensile, impact and flexural strength. Indeed, the material is up to 67% stronger than Stratasys' previous ABS formulation, and bonding strength between layers is more than doubled, providing greater scope for functional testing or the production of usable parts.

Like other additive fabrication methods, the Stratasys FDM process requires a disposable material to support features such as overhangs. Soluble supports effectively automate the support removal process because they are dissolved rather than manually removed. Compared with its predecessor, the optional SR-30 soluble support material delivers up to a 69% reduction in dissolve time in an agitation tank, and up to a 46% dissolve time reduction in an ultrasonic tank.
All material options, including the new additions, are stocked and available for immediate shipping in the UK by Laser Lines.

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