The past month or so has been an exciting time for anyone following the leading edge of 3D printing materials. Announcements have been flooding headlines from companies all over the world resulting from large conferences like AMUG and RAPID.
Something observed is that while 3D printing start-ups seem to pop up every week, they typically focus on entry-level 3D printing materials. When it comes to industrial-tier 3D printing polymers, Stratasys holds unmatched reliability and repeatability. This is something they must realize, as they’ve poured development efforts over the past two years into their high-performance offerings.
Their first new offering is titled Antero800na – a PEKK-based polymer with exceptional temperature and chemical resistance. This material joins the high-performance family of FDM polymers with Ultem9085, Ultem1010, and Nylon12-CF. The material a company would choose is heavily dependent on their application, but Antero800na boasts superior tensile strength to any material offered before. It offers extremely low off-gassing characteristics, making it attractive for aerospace applications where 3D printing could not be leveraged before. It offers similar stiffness to carbon fiber-reinforced Nylon12, but has the added bonus of Flame-Smoke-Toxicity certification, making it ideal for end-use components in aerospace and automotive applications.
Last year, Nylon12-CF helped push 3D printing out of tooling and prototypes into more end-use components but has been limited to only running on the Fortus450 until recently. The carbon fiber-reinforced material is incredibly stiff and can be used in many situations to replace metal parts. Stratasys has expanded their offering by announcing a new machine optimized to run the composite material: the Fortus380-CF.
It is exciting to see new materials push the boundaries of what 3D printing can be used for, and while many companies continue to innovate, Stratasys has positioned themselves as the leader for the highest performing polymers.