Though 3D printing is being used on a large scale by numerous sectors, it still cannot replace traditional manufacturing methods. One of the main reasons is that all the industrial materials are not 3D printable. Therefore this technology cannot be used for all applications. Industry polymer manufacturer 3M have innovated the fully-fluorinated PTFE polymers, which are 3D printable. This is a patent-pending technology.
PTTE is a non-conductive material that cannot get wet. It is bacteria resistant and can be used as a non-stick coating. Therefore, this material has varied uses in different fields. 3M and its subsidiaries Dyneon GmbH and Dyneon B.V. are also one of the world’s leading manufacturers of PTFE, fluoro elastomers, and fluoro thermoplastics. Other fluoropolymers are used in the oil, gas, chemical, automotive and aerospace industries.
Parts made from fluoropolymers which are manufactured through traditional methods of processing result in huge amounts of wastage. There are numerous difficulties faced in the processing techniques. 3D printing provides easier and sustainable methods of part manufacturing. It can greatly reduce wastage as the materials unused can be utilised in other processes.
Paula Johnson-Mason, M3’s Global Director of fluoropolymers stated their patent-pending innovation will pave the way for commencing of impossible applications. She also said that 3D printing is leading to exciting developments in the processing of fully fluorinated polymers. This additional new manufacturing process will enable the production of spare parts can be manufactured digitally without the need to create new tools.
M3 has not revealed yet, how their fluoropolymer will lead to 3D printable spare parts. A great deal about the product will be revealed in October during the K Show in Dusseldorf (19-26 October). This is the world’s premier trade fair for rubbers and plastics. In this fair, 3M and its subsidiary Dyneon will launch their 3D printing product.