Braskem, ALM partner to develop advanced polyolefins for 3D printing and additive manufacturing

Braskem, ALM partner to develop advanced polyolefins for 3D printing and additive manufacturing
Published: 23 November 2019 - 4 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
Braskem and Advanced Laser Materials (ALM) announced their joint partnership for the development of advanced polyolefins for additive manufacturing (AM).

With initial collaboration between Braskem and ALM beginning in 2018, the partnership focuses on the development of innovative polyolefin-based powders for selective laser sintering (SLS) powder-bed 3D printing. Braskem and ALM expect to introduce their first product collaboration in the first half of 2020 – a new polypropylene (PP) powder for SLS.

Development research activities have proven the new PP powder will bring enhanced benefits to the SLS AM process, including lightweighting, moisture resistance, durable living hinge capabilities, improved recyclability, enhanced processing stability as well as the elongation at break and flexibility that will match injection moulding PP grades.

"More and more we see the future success of AM being defined not by single products like printers, or materials, but in understanding how to marry printers, processes, materials, and design with customer applications – providing an end-to-end solution," said Donnie Vanelli, president of ALM.

"This approach requires developing broad partnerships, especially between printer OEMs and chemical companies. That is precisely what we have achieved in developing our relationship with Braskem, with their deep basic knowledge of polyolefins and their large portfolio of materials. We believe the result will not just be one material product, but a whole family of solutions being launched."

Fabio Lamon, additive manufacturing technology leader, Braskem, commented: "We are extremely proud to announce our partnership with ALM for the development of innovative polyolefins-based powders to support the growing opportunity we see for the additive manufacturing markets worldwide. Building on our positon as a global leader in polyolefins production, and our growing portfolio of bio-based polymers, we were excited to align efforts with ALM to bring our customers new solutions to help fuel their advanced manufacturing strategies as well as support innovative new product development roadmaps."

The upcoming introduction of this first generation polypropylene powder builds upon joint research and development over the past year. It also represents the first product deployment between Braskem and ALM as they aim to expand the range of offerings available for laser powder bed fusion over time to include additional polyolefins as well as bio-based material offerings. Polypropylene features high toughness and excellent chemical resistance at good cost.

SLS is an additive manufacturing process that utilises laser and thermal energy to sinter polymer powder to produce three-dimensional, solid geometries. SLS technologies are utilised in industrial applications for a broad array of manufacturing segments such as automotive, aerospace, packaging, and more.

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