Additive manufacturing (AM) service provider Ricoh 3D introduced carbon fiber composites to its line-up of high-performance materials through a partnership with composite-based manufacturer Impossible Objects.
Ricoh 3D is one of the first AM firms to make 3D printed carbon-fiber PEEK and carbon-fiber nylon 12 materials commercially available in Europe for functional prototypes and small-batch production, according to a press release.
The printing process leverages high-speed 2D graphics technology to create a high performance, reinforced part from powder-based 3D composites, the release says.
The end result is cost-effective parts with impressive strength-to-weight ratios and a performance similar to that of metals, according to Ricoh 3D officials.
Mark Dickin, Ricoh 3D's AM and molding engineering manager, said composites are set to be an area of huge growth in additive manufacturing in the coming years and the Impossible Objects partnership puts his team at the forefront of the European movement.
"Carbon fiber composites are industry-leading when producing lightweight yet strong parts," Dickin said. "These properties make the materials ideal for tooling and end-use applications in a range of industries, including medical, aerospace, automotive, sport and industrial; creating anything from propellers to gear components, golf clubs to prosthetics."
Compared to traditional composite manufacturing, the Impossible Objects' Composite Based Additive Manufacturing (CBAM) process creates stronger parts with very few geometric restrictions at lower prices, Dickin said, adding that's also good news for drone manufacturers.
The powder is recycled by extracting the waste material off the sheet.
"It was very important to us that this was a sustainable offering," Dickin said.
Bob Swartz, founder and chairman of Impossible Objects, said the partnership with Ricoh 3D is a major endorsement of its "revolutionary" 3D printing process.
"Our customers, from government agencies to Fortune 100 companies, have put our approach to work to create high-performance parts for everything from aircraft and cars to athletic gear," Swartz said. "CBAM opens up new possibilities for additive manufacturing by making it possible to produce stronger, high-performance 3D printed parts at dramatically lower cost than ever before. Our partnership with Ricoh 3D will extend these competitive advantages to more organizations across Europe."
For more information and to download the datasheets go to https://rapidfab.ricoh-europe.com/