Cologne-based plastics specialist igus has now started offering 3D printers that can produce components with various filaments. Different material properties can be easily combined in this 2-component 3D printing. For example, 3D printing can be used to produce components that require both special rigidity and high wear resistance. This gives companies more freedom and flexibility in design.
According to a study by the industry association BITKOM, 3D printing has become a serious alternative to machining processes – such as turning and milling in industry. Thirty two per cent of industrial companies already used the technology in 2019, twelve per cent more than that in 2016.
The 2-component printers work with the FDM process. The two molten plastics each flow through a separate pressure nozzle. The 2-component printers can switch between materials at any time during printing, and they merge at the transitions.
The filament portfolio includes lubricants and high-performance polymers with fire-retardant, hygienic and antistatic properties, amongst others. An exceptional case only arises if the melting temperatures of the filaments differ greatly and no material fusion is possible. In this case, designers can create a form-fit connection such as a dovetail, which connects two areas made of different plastics.
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