Materials

An open system – qualified standard granulates

One of the unique selling points of ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF) is that you can use plastic granules in the same way as in conventional injection moulding processes. This puts a wide and varied range of qualified original materials at your disposal.

The ability of the freeformer’s open system to work with such diverse materials not only makes it possible for you to use your own plastics but also enables you to optimise process control itself or gain access to a database of materials that we are continuously updating and expanding. With the aid of a support material, which is washed away once the component has been formed, even undercuts and complex geometries can be realised. We are thus able to open up entirely new possibilities for you in terms of design, functionality and the use of materials.

The materials pyramid
The materials pyramid clearly illustrates which materials are compatible for use with our freeformers and the APF process. Most of the plastics listed have already been qualified by us and our customers for use on our systems. These materials are compatible for use with our freeformers. Our materials database is expanding all the time, providing an ever broader base for the use of our systems.

TPU

Electrically conductive ribbon cable
Material: TPU WT 65 S 720/1
Layer height: 0.2 mm
Build time: 1:45 h

The conductors have been integrated to make the flexible band of the component electrically conductive. The ribbon cable consists of soft TPU with carbon components; the LED is inserted. This makes the two-component functional part both flexible and electrically conductive.

TPE

Hand-function orthosis
Material: SEBS Medalist M0-12130H
Layer height: 0.2 mm
Build time: 23 h

The standard granulate for the test sample for a hand-function orthosis made from TPE-S is FDA-certified for use in medical technology in the USA. Additively manufactured hand orthoses made from multiple materials can be extensively customised. This includes, for example, specifically reinforcing areas that are used the most frequently, adding elastic function elements or “padding” to protect the hand using TPE to avoid pressure points.

PP

Cable clip
Material: PP (Moplen)
Layer height: 0.21 mm
Build time: approx. 2 h

Standard PP and the associated carrier material armat 12 can be used for the additive manufacturing of fully functional cable clips with delicate structures (like a film hinge, for example) and the click effect that is typical of injection moulding. The support material, which is dissolved downstream in a water bath, also enables delicate yet resilient parts to be made from semi-crystalline materials like PP.

Soluble polymer

Tablets
Material: soluble cellulose-based polymer for personalised medication
Layer height: 0.2 mm
Build time: approx. 3 minutes

A project in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, University of East Anglia, Norwich, is concentrating on the use of the freeformer to manufacture tablets containing multi-active ingredients which control and facilitate the release of the active agents. The use of resorbable material makes it possible to personalise the medication for each patient.
The tablets feature a functional geometry and complex micro structures to integrate various drugs in different sectors. This enables multiple active agents to be combined in a single tablet; they are administered simultaneously but released at intervals over a 24-hour period. The conventional method used to manufacture these products would involve multiple stages and significant amounts of time

PC/ABS

Two-component gripper
Material: PC/ABS and TPU (70 Shore AU)
Layer height: 0.2 mm
Build time: 26 h

The resilient elastic two-component unit is manufactured in a single cycle without assembly. The soft components are widened with compressed air for parts removal from the injection mould. The use of the freeformer 300-3X with three discharge units makes the industrial additive manufacturing of tools such as devices and assembly aids even easier: components are produced in a single step and without having to spend time and money on an additional assembly stage.

Medical PLA

Cranial bones
Material: medical PLA
Layer height: 0.27 mm
Build time: approx. 45 minutes

The implant is made from medical polylactide (PLA) granules which dissolve completely inside the body over a defined period of time. The example of adapted personalised implants especially for facial and cranial bones demonstrates the high potential of ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF) specifically to support a personalised design for each patient in medical technology applications.
Resorbable implants do not have to be surgically removed after healing. Furthermore, the plastic granules can be mixed with anti-inflammatory agents to minimise rejection reactions, for example. The selection of the material type is of major significance so that the material dissolves at the correct point in time inside the body.