Examples of applications using 3M's PTFE process and materials.
3M's Advanced Materials Division has launched a new service for prototyping, low-volume and mass production of complex 3D printed polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) parts.
The technology company said it has combined "the unique properties and versatility of PTFE with the flexibility of additive manufacturing" to produce the first fully fluorinated 3D printable material. This service is achieved through a new 3D printing process developed by the 3M additive manufacturing team from open source stereolithography technology, as well as customized material formulations and post-processing steps, which have been optimized into 3D printed parts with physical properties similar to those produced The parts are manufactured through traditional manufacturing methods.
Polytetrafluoroethylene is used in a variety of applications due to its toughness, flexibility, thermal properties and chemical resistance. 3M believes that this process can open up possibilities for small and complex parts as small as 0.2 mm and as large as 120 x 80 x 80 mm. Otherwise, processing with PTFE is impractical, especially for chemical processing, biotechnology and pharmaceutical parts Research laboratories and manufacturing operations. Key features include near-universal chemical resistance, wide temperature range between -200 and 260°C, high weather resistance and UV stability, high limiting oxygen index (LOI) and excellent dielectric properties.
In a press release, 3M stated: “Whether it is manufacturing parts that can withstand the harshest chemical processing environments, providing precise fit for unique electronic applications, or aseptic components for medical equipment and food processing, customers can Their design becomes reality, like never before."
3M is currently providing the technology in the form of service organizations and contract manufacturers, and has validated the technology with customers in multiple industries last year, and plans to commercialize it before the fall. It is said that 3M is also developing other fluoropolymers and high-performance materials, which will be launched in the next few years.
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