New materials continue to make laser sintering an attractive option for rapid prototyping. One of the newest materials is EOS PEEK HP3, from EOS, the only PEEK-type polymer available for laser sintering. For Royal Plastic Mfg, Minden, Neb., a manufacturer of composite products for the aerospace industry, this material has proven important to its customers. Royal products are found on the space shuttle, Apache Helicopters, F-15 and F-18 fighter jets, GPS satellites, the V-22 Osprey and the GEnX-2B engine on the 747-8. It is the first North American company to purchase an EOSINT P 800 from EOS, a leading manufacturer of laser-sintered equipment. The laser sintering equipment is used to manufacture thermoplastic products out of EOS PEEK HP3 material.
“We have more than a half-century of experience creating aircraft parts,” says Tim O’Dey, engineering manager at Royal Plastic. “The new material and manufacturing technology from EOS fit our high-value offerings to existing customers, and new customers in medical and other fields.”
Royal acquired the EOSINT P 800 as part of an ongoing project funded by the United States Air Force and Navy. The company has worked closely with two of the largest air defense contractors on the project and is adding to existing military guidelines for laser sintering by developing specifications for PEEK HP3. Aircraft parts manufactured with the thermoplastic will include ducts for cooling and heating avionics, and clips and brackets for attaching fuel systems or wiring.
Laser-sintered EOS PEEK HP3 components have excellent heat- and corrosion-resistant properties for aerospace application. This high-performance polymer—belonging to the group of polyaryletherketones—has a melt point of 372o C/702o F. It is flame and temperature resistance, chemical resistance, has a high tensile strength, is light weight, biocompatible and can be sterilized—properties that make it attractive for aerospace, medical, automotive and industrial applications.