The hidden AM-market: high-temperature plastics
With over 1,500 high temperature capable 3D printers installed, INTAMSYS is leading the AM-market for high-performance materials such as PEEK, PEKK, PAEK and PEI. Next to this however, there is limited attention paid to 3D print engineering plastics with outstanding properties that also require higher temperatures but are not as critical to the printing process. With a complete line of industrial high temperature capable filament printers INTAMSYS is, besides the high-performance plastics, focusing on this market segment.
“For standard materials such as PLA there are already enough 3D printers. However, there are less 3D printers for industrial companies that want to 3D print applications that require the intrinsic properties of engineering plastics. In that market, the high temperature industrial FFF printers, we want to be number 1 in the world with a range from entry level to industrial grade production 3D printers,” says Bart Leferink, Vice President EMEA at INTAMSYS.
The Chinese manufacturer INTAMSYS (INtelligent AM SYStems) has made this technology industrially mature since its start in 2013. Last year only, almost 500 FUNMAT HT, the industrial entry level system, have been sold. From 2020 onwards, the global expansion starts. INTAMSYS is currently investing in setting up a global organization. Bart Leferink, with experience in both polymer and metal printing technology, is expanding the EMEA organization, with a European headquarter in Stuttgart. Paul Carlson, active in the AM industry since 2003, with 16 years of Stratasys experience, manages the activities in the Americas. “With our own branches in Europe and the US, we want to be close to our customers and our channel partners,” says Bart Leferink. These channel partners will support customers with consultancy, application development and service, whilst top key accounts will be managed and supported by the European INTAMSYS team in cooperation with the channel partners
Industrial and high temperature
INTAMSYS focuses on FFF printing technology for high performance and engineering polymers. The reason for this is that with these materials you can replace many existing metal and plastic milling and injection molded parts in, for example, mechanical engineering with 3D printed workpieces. Bart Leferink: “FFF printing has an advantage over other additive manufacturing techniques because with the extrusion of the material we only form the product, the intrinsic properties of the plastic remain largely intact, in contrast to for instance, powder bed-based techniques. These engineering plastics meet the demands of the manufacturing industry in 80 percent of the cases.” Think of Polycarbonate, carbon filled nylon and ABS. 3D printing these relatively affordable filaments require not a very high temperature printer (180 °C or more). But the filaments are much easier and accurately to process at moderate high temperature-controlled systems.
Complete line for upscaling production
INTAMSYS has developed a complete line of industrial FFF printers for all applications that benefit from high performance engineering plastics, ranging from the hard PEEK materials to ABS. In all the High Temperatures capable 3D printers INTAMSYS offers the ability to customize temperature settings to optimize the print process. The entry model is the FUNMAT HT. This entry level industrial 3D printer distinguishes itself because the printer is designed from scratch for printing with high temperature filaments. The FUNMAT HT comes with a single extruder with a 450 °C nozzle, 160 °C heated build plate and the entire build room is heated. Motors and other components are selected to keep functioning properly and accurately under high temperatures. Bart Leferink: “Developing a high temperature 3D printer requires more than heating the build room. All components must continue to function properly in that high temperature environment.” The FUNMAT HT is capable of printing both high-performance as regular engineering polymers, which most users will do. By putting this FFF printer on the market for €6499, companies can start developing their applications without having to invest heavily in equipment to obtain the benefits of a high temperature 3D printer. The FUNMAT Pro 410 and Pro 610 HT are the larger size industrial level and production capable models, based on the same design principles, so one can scale up the production.
FUNMAT PRO 610 HT production system
The brand new FUNMAT Pro 610 HT will be installed at the first pilot customers before the end of this year. INTAMSYS is taking orders now but as of the first quarter of 2021 the system will be fully released for sale also through its resellers. Bart Leferink: ” The FUNMAT PRO 610 HT is in many ways a superior alternative to the few existing larger format higher temperature printers currently available on the market in terms of temperature, build volume, certified materials and productivity features such as the four filament spools in the filament bay that are changed automatically. This allows the FUNMAT Pro 610 HT to print continuously. Just like the FUNMAT PRO 410, the 610 HT has two extruders for 3D printing two different polymers in one part or you use the second extruder for support material.
Two other key elements in the strategy of INTAMSYS are the open platform – in all the systems – and certification. INTAMSYS offers with the FUNMAT series an open platform, so customers can choose their own materials. These materials are certified in partnership with material providers to provide customers optimized parameter settings. To help customers being compliant to health & safety regulations INTAMSYS publishes a MDS (Material Data Sheet) that gives insight in de chemical composition. Furthermore, INTAMSYS gives customers access to all the data during the 3D print process. They can extract for instance the data from the FUNMAT PRO 610 HT printer and use these for certification and qualifying purposes. INTAMSYS also offers Machinery Directive CE certification. “We support our customers building a complete AM process that’s is safe for employees, compliant to regulations and competitive to other manufacturing techniques”, says Bart Leferink.
To further boost their growth plans, INTAMSYS will open their European Application Center in Germany at the beginning of 2021. You can meet INTAMSYS at Formnext Connect 2020.
INTAMSYS is a world-leading high-tech company that provides high-performance 3D printing materials, direct additive manufacturing solutions and software. Co-founded by a team of engineers with years of precision equipment development and high-performance material research, the company is headquartered in Shanghai. Currently, it has established a complete marketing and after-sales service system covering the whole world, with 2 European and American marketing and technical service centers, respectively located in Germany and in the United States. INTAMSYS focuses on aerospace, automotive, electronic manufacturing, consumer products, medical, scientific research and other industries, providing complete additive manufacturing solutions, from functional test prototyping, tooling fixture manufacturing to customized mass production.
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