Friedberg, Germany — Voxeljet is now offering its customers on-demand parts made from TPU. These are created using its high speed sintering (HSS) technology.
The company said the TPU was developed in collaboration with Covestro. It offers durable elasticity, damping properties and high impact protection. Applications include footwear, padding in products such as helmets and saddles, elastic tubes and hoses, and in sealing and packaging.
TPU can be soft and elastic, or hard and persistent, the company said. HSS allows these properties to be influenced in all three dimensions. The process involves a fine layer of polymer powder being applied to a heated build platform, and the areas where the part is to be built are inked with a heat-absorbing ink. IR light is used to fuse the printed areas of the powder, leaving unprinted material loose.
The polymer is applied, printed and irradiated layer by layer until the part is complete. Its softness depends on the volume of IR-absorbing ink that is applied: the more heavily the build area is inked, the stronger the part will be.
"The HSS technology in combination with the TPU material allows us to provide an inherently hard, highly stressable part with soft properties," said Tobias Grün, global product manager at Voxeljet. "This opens up completely new and highly individual application possibilities of 3D printing for plastic parts."