Recent growth of additive manufacturing has been dramatic and it is quickly approaching mainstream adoption. Today, a wide variety of materials can be 3D printed using the many platform technologies to build a large diversity of products and functional components for industrial usage. For plastic materials in particular, the transition from rapid prototyping to high volume production of functional parts means access to the right materials is critical.
Here, Manuel Delgado, Market Manager 3D Printing at raw material specialties distributor VELOX, outlines some of the new speciality raw materials available for the development of filaments and powders. The transition to functional part production is highly dependent on finding materials that not deliver only the necessary design accuracy but also the physical and mechanical properties essential for the application. In some areas, such as the aerospace and automotive sectors, additive manufacturing is mainstream. In others, such as the medical, healthcare, and food and packaging industries, the take-up to manufacture end-use parts has been glacial.
One of the main reasons for this is that many regulatory guidelines and standards preclude their use. Depending on whether the printed parts end up as a machine component, a cog wheel for example, or an elaborate food container different rules apply. In Europe, materials that come into direct contact with food need to be certificated to EU regulation 10/2011. For global use, they also need to be FDA-compliant.
Another, more prosaic, reason for the slow uptake of additive manufacturing in the food and medical industry is the surface finish. Both applications require cleanliness and must be sterile; the porous surfaces on a 3D printed part are particularly challenging where interconnectivity between layers takes place. The technique is acceptable for proof of concept but not in real-world applications. Here, parts need to be cleaned regularly with chemical and steam cleaners.
For Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), also referred to generically as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), the two most common materials used are Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polylactic Acid (PLA). Both are thermoplastics, which when heated, become malleable allowing them to be moulded into different shapes prior to cooling. ABS is an oil-derived plastic and is commonly used to build strong and sturdy components, such as car parts. PLA, on the other hand, is made from organic materials. Its low melting point makes it easier and safer to handle, printed parts are susceptible to warping, cracking or melting.
Generally speaking, neither of these materials are suitable for use in the aforementioned heavily-regulated sectors, until now. As an established and independent distributor serving industries as diverse as healthcare, food processing and automotive, VELOX offers one of the broadest portfolios of raw plastic materials, from base polymers to additives. Specialist suppliers include SK Chemicals, Trinseo, Lubrizol and Carlfors Bruk – they produce raw materials that are FDA-compliant or medically certified, or have special characteristics, some of which are also well-suited for additive manufacturing.
With MAGNUM ABS, Trinseo offers a material that has undergone biocompatibility testing according to the ISO 10993 standard and is therefore medically-approved. This material also creates an excellent glossy appearance and good impact performance of the printed part, both characteristics that match the needs of the medical device sector. Another of Trinseo´s materials features excellent stability in high temperatures, non-halogenated ignition resistance and suitability in corrosive chemical environments. These are ideal characteristics for parts that require regular steam sterilisation or chemical washdowns. For PLA materials, one of the newly developed Skyplete grades by SK Chemicals has a heat resistance of up to 100 degC, post-annealing.
In addition to these known chemistries, VELOX also offers other materials suitable for 3D printing. These include bio-based co-polyesters, Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG by SK Chemicals), Thermoplastic Polyurethanes and Elastomers (TPU/TPE by Lubrizol and SK Chemicals) and other engineering compounds. Each material offers special characteristics for most industries such as flexibility, stiffness, low moisture absorption, excellent mechanical properties, chemical resistance or high transparency.
A new material which is revolutionising the industry is PEEK, a PolyEther Ether Ketone. It is a semi-crystalline, thermoplastic polymeric material that is resistant to many corrosive chemicals. Its excellent mechanical properties, such as high wear resistance, and stability in high temperatures make it highly desirable for industrial applications. VELOX has introduced PrimeTec® PEEK 20G, and is sampling this material for comparison testing with filament manufacturers. Initial results for its widespread industrial potential are promising.
Turning our focus to powdered materials for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), VELOX has selected within its portfolio a number of atomised powders and additives that offer further potential. Atomised aluminium powder, produced by Calfors Bruk, can be added into the mix to give an increased heat resistance to SLS powders, and increasing conductivity. This aluminium powder can also give a metallic effect to the printed part.
To increase the hardness and toughness of SLS printed parts, solid glass beads can be added; these are made by Potters. They have the potential to lower resin demand during printing for higher volume loading. The low-density hollow glass beads can also reduce the overall weight of the part. An additional benefit of using glass beads as a filler is that the thermal stability of the material is increased significantly, which makes printed parts suitable for use in high temperature environments.
Another interesting and exciting filler is milled carbon fibre from Zoltek. This material, called Panex PX30MF, gives antistatic properties to the printed part and a good conductivity, along with an improvement in mechanical resistance.
In addition to its wide European footprint and qualified sales and marketing service, VELOX offers filament and SLS powder manufacturers a wealth of material and technical expertise. With its first-class suppliers from around the world, the new VELOX specialist additive manufacturing division offers materials to fit almost all FDM/FFF and SLS printing needs.
Author: Manuel Delgado, Market Manager 3D Printing, VELOX GmbH
iThe barriers to the progression of additive manufacture: Perspectives from UK industry
VELOX, an IMCD company, today announced that it has entered into a strategic distribution partnership with Ashland for Sweden, Norway and Denmark, effective from 12th December 2018.
The agreement includes Ashland’s complete product range of unsaturated polyester resins, gelcoat and bonding pastes, epoxy vinylesters, fire retardant resins, speciality resins and low profile additives.
‘We are delighted to expand our partnership with Ashland into the Nordics region. This addition, enhances our efforts to continue to delivery on our strategy and create value for our customers within this region’, commented Serge Gradys, Business Unit Manager Composites.
All customers concerned with this change have been informed by VELOX and will receive continuous support.
Hamburg, 24. September 2018
VELOX GmbH, Europe's leading solution provider for the plastics, composites, additives, rubber, paints and coatings industries, will be showcasing its latest products at this year’s Fakuma. Held in Friedrichshafen, Germany from 16th to 20th October, VELOX will host on its stand (Hall B5/Stand 5001) close partners Asahi Kasei, LIFE materials, Lubrizol and Völpker Spezialprodukte GmbH.
The transition to functional part production using additive manufacturing techniques is highly dependent on finding materials. Not only delivering the necessary design accuracy, they must also have the appropriate physical and mechanical properties essential for the application. During the show VELOX will present the new VELOX 3D printing portfolio, which focuses on specialist raw materials suitable for manufacturing Fused Deposition Modelling or Fused Filament Fabrication (FDM/FFF) filaments and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) powders.
From Asahi Kasei, one of the key highlights during the show will be its ASACLEAN purging compounds, which are used to optimise thermoplastic injection moulding, extrusion and blow moulding production runs. The material is designed specifically to have a low affinity to metal surfaces, which contributes to its low-residue properties. ASACLEAN has proven to reduce downtimes, costs and maintenance efforts. On the VELOX stand, an extruder will demonstrate how ASACLEAN compares to conventional, less effective purging methods.
Two antimicrobial additive materials from supplier LIFE materials are both innovative yet target completely different markets. The first is for car interiors, where the industry is increasingly seeking hygienic plastic parts, while also looking to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Called LIFE CI/AM-00-1A, the first material fights bacteria and maintains hygiene. Its adsorbent properties immobilise VOCs ensuring they do not become airborne. The second material is a silver-based antimicrobial additive, called LIFE DS/R-00-1A, that can be used with polymers such as polycarbonate (PC) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) at half of the dosage rates of competing products on the market.
As the inventor of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), Lubrizol’s Estane® polymers set the mark for performance and quality. Lubrizol Engineered Polymers will introduce its latest material breakthrough, Estane® ZHF 90AT8 NAT01. This new grade is designed especially for cables in robotics, construction and communications, and brings value by offering excellent flame retardant performance in combination with very good mechanical properties and heat resistance (compliant with VDE 282-10 and UL 105ºC rating).
At Fakuma, Lubrizol will also showcase its new Estane® TPU for 3D printing applications, ranging from soft/flexible to hard/rigid technologies. The material is available as FDM/FFF filaments and pellets, as well as powder TPU Solutions.
The final key highlight at the VELOX stand will be from VOELPKER, who has developed a new version of its proven WARADUR® OP montan wax ester containing a higher percentage of calcium montanate. Marketed under the name WARADUR® OPplus, this product will, for example, further reduce viscosity in PA 6.6. In injection moulding, this reduction in flow resistance has, amongst other things, the following advantages: Shorter cycle times due to a higher injection speed. Complex component geometries can be implemented due to longer flow paths. Components have a high-quality look due to improvement of the surface structure.
“We are delighted to present a wide range of innovative specialties together with our long-standing partners at this year's FAKUMA. We look forward to the professional exchange and the many encounters with new and existing customers at our stand 5001 in Hall B5,” says François Minec, General Manager of VELOX.
VELOX exhibits at numerous leading specialist trade fairs: visit www.velox.com for a list of events where VELOX participates.
ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands (29 August, 2018) – IMCD N.V. (“IMCD” or “Company”), a leading distributor of speciality chemicals and food ingredients, today announces that it signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of VELOX GmbH (“VELOX”), a group of companies with its headquarter in Hamburg, Germany. With an extensive commercial network across Europe and its long-standing relationships with global suppliers in the plastics, composites and other specialities markets, VELOX is an excellent fit with IMCD’s existing operations. The transaction is subject to regulatory review.
VELOX was established in 1993 and is a European distributor with a focus on specialities for the plastics, composites, additives, rubber, paints and coatings industries. With approximately 225 employees in 18 countries VELOX generated EUR 155 million revenue and a normalised EBITDA of EUR 5.4 million in 2017.
Piet van der Slikke, CEO of IMCD, commented: “This acquisition enables IMCD to further strengthen its position as distributor of speciality plastics and additives. Our portfolios very well complement each other, and we expect to be able to create more value for our suppliers and customers.”
François Minec, General Manager of VELOX added: “Joining IMCD will provide VELOX with excellent opportunities to further develop and execute its strategy as a leading distributor to the plastics- and composite industries.”
The acquisition will be paid from available cash and existing bank facilities.
About IMCD N.V. IMCD is a market-leader in the sales, marketing and distribution of speciality chemicals and food ingredients. Its result-driven professionals provide market-focused solutions to suppliers and customers across EMEA, Asia-Pacific and Americas, offering a range of comprehensive product portfolios, including innovative formulations that embrace industry trends. Listed at Euronext, Amsterdam (IMCD), IMCD realised revenues of € 1,907 million in 2017 with more than 2,200 employees in 46 countries on 6 continents. IMCD's dedicated team of technical and commercial experts work in close partnership to tailor best in class solutions and provide value through expertise for around 34,000 customers and a diverse range of world class suppliers. For further information, please visit www.imcdgroup.com or contact ir(at)imcdgroup.com.
VELOX and SK Chemicals present ECOZEN HF®, a bio-copolyester range especially suitable for the aerosol and food packaging industries
VELOX GmbH, one of Europe’s leading solution providers of raw material specialities for the plastics, composites, additives and paint & coatings industries, and its long-term partner SK Chemicals Co. Ltd. (South Korea) are presenting the next innovation for plastic packaging applications such as aerosol containers as well as cosmetic and hot fill bottles. ECOZEN HF® is a newly developed bio-copolyester range that is perfectly suitable for aluminum, glass and PET replacement wherever heat and pressure resistance combined with transparency is required. First customers have already started sampling the grades.
“ECOZEN HF® has similar processing requirements to PET and can be used in the same injection-stretch blow moulding (ISBM) process. However, the new grades by SK Chemicals perform perfectly in areas where PET can sometimes fail, such as in high temperature and high pressure applications”, explains François Minec, General Manager at VELOX. “For example, PET is sometimes used to produce aerosol bottles. These bottles can often fail due to high residual stress and the low temperature resistance of PET, especially in the summer months when possible leakage is the result. ECOZEN HF® offers an ideal alternative here.”
Besides remarkable resistance to pressure, stress-cracking and high temperatures, ECOZEN HF® is characterised by excellent transparency and easy processing. As a glass replacement, e.g. for food packaging, it not only helps to reduce weight and transportation costs but can also be used to produce hot-fill containers without the need for an expensive PET heat-setting process or the need for crystallising the bottle or jar neck. Similarly, as an aluminum substitute in the cosmetics packaging industry, ECOZEN HF® combines high pressure-resistance with design flexibility and transparency. In addition, Ecozen HF® is totally miscible with PET in the recycling stream.
VELOX provides the new range in nearly all European countries.
VELOX GmbH, one of Europe’s leading solution providers of raw material specialities for the plastics, composites, additives and paint & coatings industries, and its long-term partner SK Chemicals Co., Ltd. (South Korea) are presenting Skyplete, a new plastics material range with some unique products for the 3D industry. VELOX has been chosen as distribution partner in Europe by SK Chemicals.
“We are excited to be working together with our long-term partner, VELOX, in developing the 3D printing industry in Europe. We believe that VELOX is the most suitable partner to meet our strategic objective to expand the market share in Europe because they have experience in 3D printing industry as well as technical knowledge on SK Chemicals products”, commented Brian Oh, business development team leader at SK Chemicals.
“3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) has become indispensable for design and manufacturing in different industries. Its widespread use is creating the need for specialised materials like the Skyplete range by SK Chemicals”, says François Minec, General Manager at VELOX.
Specialities to be highlighted within the Skyplete products are e.g. the EN100, a PLA-based biodegradable type with a heat resistance (HDT) of 100°C, that is up to twice as high as the HDT of competitive products on the market. But also the Skyplete E-Series, bio-copolyester types with higher impact and temperature resistance than the widely used ABS and PLA materials, as well as copolyester types that combine the advantages of PLA and ABS – e. g. food approval, low-odour, easy to print on, good adhesion of the individual layers – are to be emphasised.
“The Skyplete range is one of the most innovative 3D printing materials in our portfolio and an excellent choice for filament manufacturers looking for enhancement of temperature resistance for easy-to-print materials and the refinement of common compounds to improve impact resistance and engineering performance”, comments Manuel Delgado, 3D printing market manager at VELOX.
VELOX’ target group for the new Skyplete range are filament producers and compounders looking for innovative and specialised 3D printing materials with a great range of properties. VELOX provides the new product range in all European countries.
Ashland today announced it has appointed VELOX as its new main composites distributor for France. The new distribution agreement, which is effective July 1, 2018, includes all Ashland unsaturated polyester resin, gel coat, low-profile additives products and epoxy vinyl ester resins, including Derakane™. All activities previously managed by Quimidroga, will transfer to VELOX France SAS per July 1, 2018.
“We are excited to have VELOX representing us in the French market," said Alessandro Lago, sales director, Composites, EMEA. "The VELOX team has considerable commercial experience in the composites business and the right technical expertise to support Ashland’s growth in the French market.”
“We are delighted that Ashland have selected VELOX as their main representative for composite products in France and trust in our expertise. We look forward to a very successful cooperation”, commented François Minec, General Manager at VELOX.
Focus on newest antimicrobials, halogen-free flame retardants and bio-based materials
VELOX GmbH, one of Europe’s leading solutions providers of raw material specialities for the plastics, composites and additives industries, will be showcasing at the Compounding World Expo 2018 in Essen, Germany on 27th to 28th June 2018. At booth 100 VELOX and its co-exhibitors Polyram Plastic Industries LTD and Völpker Spezialprodukte GmbH will be presenting new and proven additive solutions for the plastics compounding industry.
“With its specific focus on the compounding market the Compounding World Expo is a highly relevant and promising exhibition for VELOX. We are looking forward to insightful discussions and exchange on current developments in the industry. Together with our partners we will be presenting our extended additives portfolio”, states Nadia Kursawe, Business Unit Manager, Additives at VELOX.
Polyram will take the opportunity of the Expo to introduce a new impact modifier called Bondyram 7105. This grade is a MAH modified ethylene/octane copolymer elastomer for improving PA66 compounds.
Völpker will be showcasing its Montan waxes and special wax blends that are often the key to solving complex processing problems in the plastics and plastic recycling industry allowing to create compounds with significantly better characteristic value profiles.
Besides Polyram and Völpker, VELOX’ newest partner for antimicrobial additives, Life Material Technologies, will also be present at the booth. VELOX is the exclusive distributor of Life’s antimicrobial additives and treatments in most of Europe.
In addition to its antimicrobials portfolio, VELOX will be showcasing its broad flame retardant range. “With the new and stricter requirements for flame retardancy for various applications in electronics, construction or the public sector in Europe, halogen-free flame retardants are in increasing demand. VELOX has a wide range of halogen-free additives to offer”, highlights Kursawe.
VELOX GmbH, one of Europe’s leading solutions providers of raw material specialities for the plastics, composites, additives, rubber and paints & coatings industries, will be showcasing its comprehensive rubber and rubber additives portfolio at the German Rubber Conference DKT, taking place in Nuremberg from 2nd until 5th July. In Hall 12, booth 338 VELOX’ long-standing partners Avanzare, Axalta Polymer Powders and Nitriflex, as well as the company’s new partner Himadri from India, a carbon black specialist, will co-exhibit.
“VELOX is well established in the rubber and additive industry with a wide product portfolio for 25 years”, says Robert Zeppelin, Business Unit Manager CASE (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants and Elastomers) at VELOX. “We are pleased to be represented again this year together with strong partners and a broad range of specialties."
Furthermore, Avanzare will present novel additives on the subject of "Thermal and Electrical Conductive Materials to Avoid H&S problems " at the daily Poster Sessions.
This year, VELOX is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Group is operating 21 offices across Europe as well as in China, Russia and Turkey.
PENTAC and VELOX at CEP Auto 2018 in Spain
VELOX GmbH, one of Europe’s leading solutions providers of raw material specialities for the plastics, composites, additives and paint & coatings industries, and its long-term partner PENTAC Polymer GmbH will be participating at the International Conference on Automotive Plastics, CEP Auto that will be held in Barcelona, Spain, from 27th to 28th June 2018.
The focus of PENTAC and VELOX will be lightweighting in automotive engineering. Dr. Georg Kirschbaum, Business Development Manager at PENTAC, will be holding a lecture on dealing with the different possibilities to reduce the weight of reinforced polyamide compounds, with solutions that allow to save up to 40 % of the weight compared with parts injected in "normal" nylon. Through the combined use of different base polymers with reduced density reinforcements and fillers weight savings of 30 % or more have already been achieved.
For example, savings of several 100 gr weight could be achieved by using dense-optimised material formulations compared to typical, previously used polymer compounds for motor covers. As part of a general concept for weight reduction in the automotive industry, it is already possible to significantly contribute to the overall goal achievement at this point, without affecting the function of the component.
„We are looking forward to an intense and fruitful exchange on cutting-edge technical developments in the industry at CEP Auto”, says Albert Kirchner, Country Manager Spain and Portugal at VELOX.
CEP Auto is organised by the “Centro Español de Plásticos”. For more information click the following link: https://www.cep-auto.com/