At Formnext, 3M is showcasing the first 3D printed polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This solutions is to open up new possibilities for industrial additive manufacturing.
Frankfurt/Germany — PTFE is known as a problem-solver, and it is the material of choice for a wide variety of demanding industries and environments. Thanks to a novel 3D printing process developed by 3M, it is possible to produce PTFE parts with complex geometries and fine details that are beyond the capabilities of conventional processing techniques. Tim Schniepp, 3M’s Advanced Materials’ Additive Manufacturing Business Manager stated that this new technology has proven to be a valuable and versatile solution for numerous customer challenges that could not previously be addressed with machined PTFE and similar conventional manufacturing methods.
The company’s proprietary technology combines the benefits of both additive manufacturing and PTFE to open new opportunities for customers. It allows the creation of parts that withstand the most severe chemical processing environments or provide a precise fit for a unique electronics application, for instance.
At Formnext, attendees can see this technology first-hand with examples of where it has already been adopted by customers across industries. For the technology, 3M provides high quality, finished parts, operating as a service bureau and contract manufacturer for prototype, small batch, and serial production of 3D printed parts. The company has engaged numerous leaders across key industries to introduce and validate performance, accepting orders and manufacturing parts for the past year and now has plans to fully commercialize the technology in 2020.
Beyond 3D printed PTFE, 3M is developing solutions for other additive manufacturing technologies with additional fluoropolymers and high-performance materials set to launch in the coming years.