Nearly every day innovating material developers and service bureaus debut new and better products and services to help manufacturers improve their manufactured goods and production processes. For instance, Quickparts recently announced it will offer both plaster and metal casting to its portfolio of manufacturing services. Rapid prototyping (RP) is often used with plaster molding processes to circumvent or change to the production of hard tooling. This is accomplished by creating a rubber mold from an RP-generated pattern. The rubber mold is used to create plaster molds for casting production. Plaster castings often serve as a precursor to die casting production while the hard tool is being made.
During metal casting, molten metal is forced under high pressure into mold cavities.
Die casting is the process of forcing molten metal under high pressure into mold cavities. Most die castings are made from non-ferrous metals, specifically aluminum, zinc, copper, and magnesium; although ferrous metal die castings are possible. The die casting method is especially suited for
applications where large quantities of small to medium sized parts are needed with good detail, a fine surface quality, and dimensional consistency.
The company also offers a new black acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)-like stereolithography (SLA) material for RP and room temperature vulcanization (RTV)/silicone master patterns. The product called RenShape 7820 is a black, low viscosity, stereolithography resin for solid state SLA platforms. It supports easy recoating during the build as well as good drainage for quick part cleaning.
RenShape 7820 is a black ABS-like stereolithography material for rapid prototyping and room temperature vulcanization (RTV)/silicone master patterns.
New thermoplastic products give you access to stronger, more flexible, and higher temperature materials. For instance, Stratasys launched polycarbonate (PC) and polycarbonate-acrylontrile butadiene styrene (PC-ABS) for its fused deposit modeling (FDM) 360 manufacturing center (mc). PC is useful in the automotive, aerospace, and medical industries. The material is available in 0.007, 0.0010, and 0.013-in. slice thicknesses.
PC-ABS is used in automotive, electronics, and telecommunications applications. It has strength and heat-resistance characteristics of PC while adding flexibility of ABS. PC-ABS is available in 0.005, 0.007, 0.010, and 0.013-in. thickness options.
The Fortus 360mc system helps you generate prototypes and parts using thermoplastic materials.
The company also offers PC-ISO to the FDM 400mc. It is a polycarbonate material that can be sterilized for medical devices or food and pharmaceutical handling equipment applications. It has high impact and flexural strength and can handle high temperatures. The product is available in 0.007, 0.010, and 0.013-in. thicknesses.
OptiGrain MG is a precision extruded 6061 aluminum alloy product designed for high-speed machining operations. The product’s mechanical properties are said to improve the consistency, surface finish, and strength of machined parts. It is a fine grain substance developed to minimize high-speed machine set-up time and recalibration. The company claims the product’s bar stock exceeds the Aluminum Association Standard Tolerances and Precision Tolerance for extruded rods. It performs well in automated rod and bar feeders.
OptiGrain MG 6061 is available in solid and hollow bar form, in square, round, and hex profiles. Custom shapes can also be ordered. The product is suited for automotive parts, hardware, couplings and connectors, fasteners, fittings, hinge pins, and military components.
Polymers and polyurethanes
Vestakeep 4000G polymer from Evonik Industries is resistant in harsh environments similar to those of semiconductor production with deposition, photolithography, and etching at extremely high processing temperatures. The liquid crystal display (LCD) glass plates are heated in a vacuum chamber and source gas is introduced to prepare for plasma coating. During coating, structuring, and etching, the LCD guide rollers made from Vestakeep polyetheretherketone (PEEK) withstand the harsh ambient conditions without contaminating or destroying the filigree top layer on the glass. The product is well suited for wafer handling in semiconductor manufacturing. It offers good oxidative stability in the melt and can be used continuously at temperatures exceeding 220°C. The product retains its original properties after long-term exposure to steam, ethylene, oxide, and gamma radiation.
Vestakeep PEEK can outperform metals by improving system durability and reducing component manufacturing cost. It is resistant to corrosion and abrasion.
Innovative Polymers developed a new polyurethane for producing durable polypropylene-like parts. The RC-225 features a 70-sec work life, attains rapid green strength, and can be de-molded in less than 30-min. The cured system reaches a heat deflection temperature of 230° F (110° C) and a flexural modulus of 300,000 psi.
An all terrain vehicle on which the fender flares, bumper covers, and grille are molded using TP-4004, one of the products in a family of polyurethanes that is based on advanced cross-linked technologies.
The company also recently introduced TP-4014 polyurethane, a low-viscosity, amber-colored material with a 2:1 mix ratio by weight, a gel time of 12.5 to 15 min., and de-mold time of 1 hr at 150° F (66° C). After curing, the TP-4014 system has a flexural modulus of 150,000 psi, a notched Izod impact strength of 3.0 ft-lbs/in., a heat deflection temperature of 192° F (89° C), and meets UL 94 V-O flammability standards.
Nylatron 4.6 from Quadrant EPP is heat resistance to temperatures above 300F°/260°C.
Nylatron 4.6 is a modified nylon product that features stiffness retention as well as creep and heat aging resistance over a range of temperatures. The product is suited for higher temperature applications (175° F – 300° F) where PA6, PA66, POM, and PET can fall short. The product is most commonly used to manufacture gears, sheaves, sprockets, and custom parts.
Some of its properties include:
• Mechanical strength, stiffness, hardness, and toughness
• Fatigue resistance
• Mechanical damping ability
• Wear resistance
• Electrical insulation
• Resistance against high energy radiation such as gamma and X-rays
Hydro Aluminum Extrusion Americas
Evonik High Performance Polymers