Stratasys introduces new PEKK thermoplastic material for FDM 3D printing technology

Stratasys has introduced a new PEKK-based high-performance thermoplastic for its Fused Deposition Modelling technology, called Antero 800NA.

This PEKK material for FDM additive manufacturing is said to offer significant advantages for many manufacturers, including the ability to produce lighterweighted parts, help reduce inventories, and improve profitability.

Stratasys say Antero 800NA outperforms other high-performance thermoplastics thanks to its ‘superior chemical resistance’ and ‘ultra-low outgassing’. Additionally, the material possesses high temperature resistance and exceptional wear properties. And this, Stratasys believes will be of interest to aerospace and other high-performance vehicle manufacturers.

Its superior chemical resistance means it can be used for components exposed to hydrocarbons, such as fuels and lubricants, as well as many acids, while its low outgassing allows it to be used in confined spaces and sensitive environments, such as satellites, where materials may not outgas under vacuum. Its high operating temperature is designed to allow it to be used for applications under the hood or in engine compartments. Besides space, aerospace and automotive, target industries include high-end industrial manufacturing, as well as oil-and-gas applications.

The main application of Antero 800NA, Stratasys say, is for custom or low-volume manufacturing, because of the economic advantages it carriers when compared with traditional processes. Typically, manufacturers buy bulk PEKK (available only in limited shapes and sizes) and machine it to a net shape, which wastes a considerable amount of expensive material and has a longer lead time. With an additive process, the workflow is faster, yielding lighter-weight parts with optimised topology and significantly reduced waste.

Another important advantage with the additive process is it allows manufacturers to produce PEKK parts on-demand and eliminate inventory that might sit on a shelf for years before being needed. The reduction in inventory costs means increased profitability.

Unlike PEKK parts made with some powder-based additive processes, Antero 800NA parts created with the FDM process are more durable and dimensionally stable, even when building large parts. They are also cost-effective to produce, even at low quantities.

Antero 800NA’s advantages over competing additive processes include:

  • Better elongation in the X and Z axis, resulting in tougher parts
  • Consistent mechanical properties
  • Low-volume cost advantages
  • Large-part dimensional stability
  • FDM technology advantages, including ease-of-use and design freedom

Antero 800NA is the first commercial product in a planned new family of PEKK-based materials. The material will be offered with an initial layer thickness of 0.010 in (0.25mm) and additional layer-thickness options planned for future release.

Antero 800NA is expected to be available for use on Stratasys’ Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer in Q2, 2018, and for the Fortus 900mc Production 3D Printer in Q4, 2018. Existing Fortus 450mc users with the high-performance material bundle will be able to use Antero 800NA without additional license fees. Fortus 450mc users without the high-performance materials bundle can purchase the high-performance material bundle or an individual material license. Fortus 450mc systems will require the Nylon 12CF hardware upgrade along with a new tip and purge ledge to operate the Antero 800NA material.

Meanwhile, at the Additive Manufacturers User Group (AMUG) Conference, Stratasys has been showcasing more of its work in materials development, namely its offering of Nylon materials (6, 12-CF, and 12), which boast flexibility and strength, and also gave a glimpse into the company’s work with tooling, jigs and fixtures, which are making an impact in the aerospace industry among others. More details on those will be available soon.

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