Airbus has partnered with materials producer Lehmann & Voss and German firm LSS Laser Sinter Service to launch a new economical additive printing process and high performance polymers to the market.
Called ThermoMelt, it is seen as an alternative option for laser sintering of high performance polymers which currently require specific machines due to their high melting temperature that drive up the cost of producing parts.
ThermoMelt allows the production of parts using high performance materials by lowering required sintering temperatures through the slight modification of commercial Selective Laser Sintering machines which are already on the market.
Airbus believes these modifications will provide better temperature and laser control to the system. At the same time, ThermoMelt also reduces the thermal ageing effects during the manufacturing process, by increasing recyclability of the material parts while slashing energy costs, compared to conventional laser sintering processes.
Lehmann & Voss says: “During the initial phase of ThermoMelt development hundreds of specimens were tested in order to assess the mechanical and physical properties of the resultant parts. The results are well above commercially available alternatives, with outstanding recyclability.”
German service bureau Rauch CNC will join the collaboration as a partner for testing ThermoMelt and to ensure it fulfills market requirements.