Aug 3, 2018

Victrex Introduces New PAEK Products for Additive Manufacturing

Victrex, the British-based supplier of high performance polymer solutions, has prepared new high performance PAEK powder and filament for SLS and FFF 3D printing. 

Victrex is a British-based company with over 35 years of experience in developing and applying PAEK/PEEK (Polyetheretherketones) polymer based solutions.

For those not in the know, PEEK is a lightweight, high-strength polymer which has a high resistance to wear, high temperature and “aggressive fluids” or chemicals. Victrex believes that such properties can offer more freedom in design as well as cost-efficient production.

Now, the company reports that it’s “preparing newly developed materials” for Additive Manufacturing. Taking the form of a powder for sintering solutions and a filament for fused filament fabrication, these new PAEK materials offer greater respective performance than existing PAEK options.

In September this year at the University of Exeter Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) bi-annual conference, Victrex will present the technical results of these new materials.

Jakob Sigurdsson

Jakob Sigurdsson, Victrex CEO, commented: “These next-generation VICTREX PAEK materials for Additive Manufacturing mark a decisive step forward, having potential to transform multiple applications, including Aerospace and Medical. The exciting progress is based on continued intense R&D at Victrex and excellent collaboration within the Victrex led consortium of companies and institutions pursuing innovation in Additive Manufacturing. Through this consortium we’re already seeing demonstrator parts that show how AM processes, coupled with high-performance materials, transform thinking to create truly innovative parts based on increased design possibilities.”

Benefits of the New Materials from Victrex

The company explains in a press release that, due to the fact that PAEK materials were originally designed for conventional manufacturing methods (including injection molding and machining), they’re not optimized for additive manufacturing.

For example, a first generation PAEK material for laser sintering can’t be fully recycled and a new printing bed of powder is required after every print. Meanwhile, PEEK filaments for FFF typically suffer from layer bonding, leading to weakness in the Z-axis.

Seeking to address this, Victrex’s new PAEK powder for sintering offers high strength but can also attain lower refresh rates. This means better recycling of unsintered powder. Meanwhile, the filament variant was developed specifically for filament fusion printing to offer better printability without the weak layer bonding.

John Grasmeder, Chief Scientist at Victrex explains: “Breakthrough technology is paving the way for an exciting future for Additive Manufacturing PAEK. The powder recycle work for Laser Sintering, using the new Victrex development polymer grades has gone very well, with no measurable loss of properties when test components were made from partially recycled powder. We believe it will be possible to re-use all of the non-sintered powder that is recovered after a build run. This will result in a significant reduction in material costs compared to current PolyArylEtherKetone materials where up to 40% of the polymer is wasted and cannot be recycled.”

Victrex is uniquely placed to tackle the issues with existing PEEK materials for additive as the leader of an additive manufacturing consortium.

Indeed, the PAEK powder was assessed for compatibility at sintering giant EOS’s R&D facility, and pre-commercial testing of the PAEK filament continues at printing OEM E3D, who developed a water-cooled hot end system specifically tailored to printing the new PAEK. Both members of the AM consortium lead by Victrex, and part of a wider industry push to advance the applications and materials of additive manufacturing.

To find out more and stay up to date, visit the Victrex website.

Source: Press Release

License: The text of "Victrex Introduces New PAEK Products for Additive Manufacturing" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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