19. Sep 2014
Bioplastics specialist FKuR Kunststoff GmbH and Helian Polymers, a leading Netherlands-based provider of 3D printing filaments, marketed under the ColorFabb brand name, are collaborating on the development of novel PLA blends for 3D printing.
The initial results and applications of this collaboration will be shown at this year’s Composites Europe exhibition (booth A36, hall 8b). The highlight at the booth will be live 3D printing of natural fiber reinforced bioplastics.
PLA compounds are particularly suitable for the FDM process (Fused Deposition Modeling), as they have a relatively narrow melt window at low temperatures. Furthermore, the low processing temperature results in easier control of the printer and simplifies the regulation of the printing process. With a printing accuracy that is far superior to that of conventional ABS, the main material used today, PLA also offers cleaner processing conditions: unlike ABS, PLA emits no potentially hazardous styrene vapors during processing
The inherent brittleness of unmodified PLA, however, together with its low impact strength not only pose a challenge during processing, they also impact adversely on the quality of the finished product. Helian and FKuR are now developing a new generation of PLA based filament formulations that provide improved processing properties combined with an optimized material quality. With their unique and comprehensive product portfolio, both development partners will steadily expand the applications and markets for PLA in 3D printing.
Helian’s Colorfabb filaments were initially launched in 2013, and are now available in a wide variety of colors. The product range was recently extended to include new design materials reinforced with natural fibers. The woodFill material is available in two variations, fine and coarse, and consist of about 70% Colorfabb PLA and 30% wood fiber. A third reinforced grade called ’BambooFill‘ is reinforced with bamboo fiber. Products printed with these novel filament grades are characterized by a unique wood appearance and distinctive feel. Compared to conventional wood, there are virtually no limits to design freedom, opening new creative options to all users, both professional and otherwise. (KL)
www.colorfabb.com, www.fkur.com or www.fkur-biobased.com
Image: woodFill fine Pen Holder