Stratasys Releases ULTEM-Killer Thermoplastic

By on May 4th, 2018 in materials

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 Lightweight aerospace bracket printed in Antero 800NA. (Image courtesy of Stratasys.)  
Lightweight aerospace bracket printed in Antero 800NA. (Image courtesy of Stratasys.)  

It seems that we have reached peak innovation in terms of fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printing technologies.

Just a couple of years ago, it seems that everyone had a new FDM printer on the market, with each company promising something slightly different (or slightly cheaper) than the last.

Well, the good news is that Stratasys is still innovating, while other companies focus on marginal, incremental platform updates.

The latest innovation from the granddaddy of FDM companies comes in the form of a new engineering plastic called Antero 800NA.

Antero 800NA is a PEKK-based thermoplastic that has superior chemical resistance and low-outgassing, making it ideally suited to aviation and space applications. Additionally, the new FDM plastic has excellent thermal resistance, making it useful for high-temperature applications such as automotive engine fixtures.

Traditionally, PEKK products have been manufactured by either machine- or by powder-based 3D printing. The problem with machine printing is that a lot of waste is produced, which is undesirable due to the relatively high cost of PEKK material purchased in bulk. Parts produced by powder-based 3D printing can suffer from dimensional stability, especially when printing larger parts.

With Antero 800NA, these problems are solved. The advantages over competing additive processes include:

  • Better elongation in the x- and z-axis, resulting in tougher parts
  • Consistent mechanical properties
  • Low-volume cost advantages
  • Large-part dimensional stability
  • Increased design freedom

Antero 800NA will be coming to the Fortus 450mc printer in Q2 2018, and the Fortus 900mc later in Q4 2018.