Plastics manufacturer SABIC is taking a very serious interest in 3D printing technology.
You may not have heard of them, but SABIC is currently the world’s second largest diversified chemical company, with a prime focus on plastics. As such, they are one of the world’s largest sources of thermoplastics. That’s the kind of plastic most often used in many 3D printers.
The Saudi company’s recent interest in 3D printing has manifested in investments in the technology. Evidently they’ve invested in “several” 3D printer projects, including the Big Area Additive Manufacturing that last year 3D printed a car body.
We’re not aware of specifically which 3D printer companies took investment from SABIC, but it makes sense. By promoting these machines, they could eventually see a rise in plastic consumption.
SABIC has been developing several high-performance plastics for use in 3D printing, including:
- ULTEM™ 9085, a very durable, high-temperature tolerant plastic often seen in high-end 3D printers
- LNP™ THERMOCOMP™ compounds – a carbon fiber reinforced material for printing high-stress parts
- CYCOLAC™ MG94 resin – an ABS material used by the maker community for fused filament fabrication (FFF) printing
These materials may seem straightforward, but there is considerable development required to create them. ULTEM, for example, has been engineered to meet very specific heat release and flame, smoke and toxicity requirements from the aerospace industry. The chair above is an item created from this plastic technology.
Expect further plastic innovations from SABIC in the future.