Polymer Additive Manufacturing Consultancy

Additive manufacturing (AM) has gained significant momentum as companies in rapidly advancing sectors such as, Aerospace, Defense, Healthcare, Automotive and Energy, seek new routes to reduce time-to-market and the cost to manufacture products.  In addition to metals and ceramics, polymers are common feedstocks for AM due to their low cost and wide ranging properties that can be exploited in the production of complex, customizable components. 

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» Common Post-Processing Treatments for Additive Manufactured Components
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Polymers offer unique combinations of characteristics, from high strength to flexibility, that can be tailored to a given application due to the vast range of polymers, blends and copolymers available.  However, to take full advantage of the beneficial properties of polymers for AM, it is essential to understand the intimate connection between polymer structure, composition and AM process conditions to minimize quality issues, product failure and underperformance.

Common challenges in polymer AM:

  • Predictability
  • Reliability
  • Mechanical properties
  • Material selection
  • Residual stresses
  • Defects and flaws
  • Dimensional stability
  • Certification/qualification.

To overcome these challenges, Lucideon has extensive experience with widely available AM techniques, through relationships with major additive manufacturering companies and our staff of expert polymer scientists, which can provide solutions and perspectives to these issues.

Raw materials and process optimization:

While base chemistries may be the same, not all polymers are created equal.  Anyone accustomed to polymer AM will know first-hand that raw materials are critical to achieving a successful component.

  • Uncertain polymer composition
  • Variability in raw materials.

If you experience these raw material issues you might be left with processing challenges and underperforming components.  To ensure the highest quality and reliability, Lucideon can help:

  • analyse the composition of your raw material
  • confirm that the right materials are being used for your application
  • predict raw material behaviour during processing and use
  • safeguard your process through intrinsic knowledge and optimization.

Incorporating functional additives or fiber reinforcement to your raw material?  The addition of additives, fibers or colorants is an effective method of introducing extra functionality and reinforcement to your final component.  However, without careful consideration, these additives can wreak havoc on your process.

  • Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
  • Vat polymerization
  • Material Jetting
  • Binder Jet
  • Powder Bed Fusion
  • Direct Energy Deposition.

Independent of process technique, Lucideon can help to optimize correct mixing of master batches and feedstock to ensure material can be extruded/processed and to prevent the introduction of flaws, residual stress, mechanical instability and anisotropies during the build.  Ultimately, this will lead to greater product performance and reliability.

Post processing:

Polymer AM is a highly dynamic process that often involves melting, extrusion and welding which influence fundamental phenomena such as polymer crystallization, orientation and interfacial adhesion.

Lucideon’s team of polymer experts and analytical chemists have access to state-of-the-art facilities that can be used to investigate:

  • Surfaces
  • Mechanical properties
  • Physical properties
  • Resistance to wear and failure
  • Crystallinity
  • Aging.

More importantly, our polymer experts can help to formulate and implement appropriate test plans and outline what tests should be performed to evaluate and validate parts based on the client’s requirements.

When it all goes wrong:

If parts do not meet specifications, or fail after manufacture, our team of polymer experts have the experience and knowledge to perform failure analyses and apply corrective solutions to prevent product failures from happening again in the future.

» Click here to find out more about our Polymer Solutions

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Resources

  • White paper

    Design Optimization in Medical Devices: Materials Matter

    pdf 908 KB

  • White paper

    Failure Analysis of Plastic Products

    pdf 733 KB

  • White paper

    Polymer Basics: Structure & Properties

    pdf 400 KB

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