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People of 3D Printing

3D Printing with Polypropylene

Introduction

Industrial grade Additive Manufacturing materials bring new prospects to 3D printing applications. Additive Manufacturing can also bring out the unique advantages of Polypropylene. With its high chemical resistance property, this material provides for advanced technical needs across a variety of industries. What is Polypropylene, what are the advantages of using it along with 3D printing, and for which applications? Here is all you need to know about Polypropylene.

What is Polypropylene?

Commonly known as PP, this industry-grade material is well used in industrial manufacturing for its excellent media tightness, chemical resistance, and ductility. Now fit for Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing Polypropylene combines the advantages of this technology and the expected mechanical properties of injection-molded PP, opening up new opportunities for designers, engineers, and businesses.

 

Based on a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polyolefin, this material is prized for its affordability and its compatibility across many technical applications. From the Automotive sector to specific industry uses, PP can be utilized anywhere where properties such as high elongation at break, resistance to harsh substances, and media tightness are required.

 

What is PP

3D printing PP: What potential does it allow for?

The Advantages of 3D printing Polypropylene

With PP’s unique mechanical properties on the one hand, and the great design and production benefits that Additive Manufacturing builds upon, promising new possibilities are now opened up for technical parts. 

 

Prototyping

3D printing has everything it takes to carry out prototyping processes ideally. As a flexible manufacturing technique, this technology doesn’t require part-specific tools to create them. Different prototypes can thus be iterated individually, without inducing the costs that other traditional manufacturing tools would. 

Along with cost-effectiveness, Additive Manufacturing allows to iterate prototypes at a much higher pace than other processes, which is key to refining them subsequently, until the perfect version is achieved. 

Now allowing for the mechanical properties of PP, 3D printing opens up more advanced prototyping possibilities. With Polypropylene, 3D printed prototypes meant to achieve high industry requirements can undergo advanced mechanical strength tests, and can offer dependable results.

 

Lean manufacturing

When it comes to production, 3D printing turns out to be a scalable and very convenient tool for manufacturers seeking flexibility. Whether for 1, 100, or thousands of parts, 3D printing adjusts to your needs without entailing minimum production constraints. This freedom, along with fast turnaround time, make 3D printing best suited for on-demand manufacturing. With such an approach to production, you can address orders and projects as they come, without overburdening stocks or risking waste. 

 

Complex geometries

Mechanical systems such as the ones we find in cars tend to imply high technical and spatial challenges. 3D printing and the high design possibilities it relies on can help you answer these. 

First, the design freedom characteristic of this technology harnesses the potential for more complex shapes. With complex geometries, parts can be best tailored to space constraints and provided with lattice structures, thus optimizing both weight and sturdiness. Depending on the functions that parts are aimed at, better design potential translates to better output. Air and media management parts, for instance, can take advantage of this benefit for optimized flows. With topology optimization tools, part size can be computed and tweaked to spacing issues, so as to achieve the best balance among weight, sturdiness, size, with the least matter possible.  

Resorting to PP, parts can achieve a higher complexity, making use of the material’s excellent mechanical properties and the gains offered by Design for Additive Manufacturing.

 

Customization

Offering the possibility to iterate different designs subsequently, Additive Manufacturing allows to add variations to a single part easily. With parametric design tools, model properties such as wall thickness can be changed only by entering new values. In no time, this approach to design modification allows to tailor unique parts to specific technical constraints.

Manufacturing PP parts with a 3D printing service

Setting up an Additive Manufacturing process takes time and has to address multiple challenges to be used at scale. If you want to discover how Polypropylene can apply to your business and utilize it, resorting to a 3D printing service is a dependable way of integrating Polypropylene part production to your company.

With Sculpteo, you can rely on more than 10 years of experience across wide-ranging 3D printing technologies, the capacity and know-how to produce at any scale, and two PP materials: 

 

Ultrasint® PP nat 01

Developed for SLS 3D printing technologies, this material delivers the characteristic properties of Polypropylene, such as high-ductility, rigidity, and chemical resistance. 

Parts 3D printed using Ultrasint® PP nat 01 have a white, slightly translucent raw aspect. They have to be designed with a  260 x 260 x 300mm maximum size and a minimum wall thickness of 1mm.

 

PP SLS

 

PP for HP Jet Fusion

Developed for HP’s Jet Fusion technology, PP is a high reusability material. Meant to produce high-performance parts at high volumes, this PP provides sustainability to production. 

Parts 3D printed in Ultrasint® PP come out grey, and have to be designed under a maximum size of 370 x 274 x 380 mm and a minimum wall thickness of 0.8mm.

Design guidelines are also available to guide you through your whole design process. To support you further with the development of your 3D printing project, you can also contact our sales team to help you identify how this technology can best apply to your needs.

 

PP HP

The applications of 3D printing PP

Chemical resistance, high ductility, and rigidity make up a perfect blend that parts across many industries can take advantage of. From pipes to manifolds, we will get into the different applications of 3D printing PP.  

 

Automotive Industry

For both interior and exterior components, car production can build on the strengths of Polypropylene. Other than the mechanical properties mentioned above, this material is also air and media-tight, which makes it well-suited for flow system production. Parts such as ducts, pipes or even dashboard components can thus be 3D printed with this material and will perform their function well thanks to PP’s high rigidity and chemical resistance. 

Polypropylene, as well as other new high-performance 3D printing materials, are largely contributing to spreading Additive Manufacturing uses across the Automotive and Transportation industries.

 

Automotive

 

Industrial Goods

For machinery part production, Polypropylene is a good fit everywhere where low moisture absorption, excellent chemical resistance, and mechanical strength properties are needed. Also, note that Ultrasint® PP demonstrates great welding abilities with other parts and complies with RoHs and REACH health and safety standards. Tools, jigs, fixtures and tubes are thus examples of parts that can leverage 3D printing PP as a dependable alternative to Nylon PA12. 

 

Industrial goods

Consumer Goods

End user products from all types of industries may have to address water or harsh fluid resistance requirements. In that regard, 3D printing PP is best fitted for media reservoir and manifold production, such as the ones used in the Transportation, Chemical and Cosmetics industries. 

 

Reservoirs & Manifolds

 

3D printing PP thus complies with very different needs, and may apply to yours too! If you want to get further details about how your project could build upon Polypropylene, feel free to get in touch with our sales team or to upload your 3D file on our 3D printing platform directly. 

 

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