Unleashing the Potential of 3D Printed Nylon in Digital Manufacturing
The utilization of Nylon in 3D Printing is gaining significant traction owing to its myriad advantages. Nylon 12, a thermoplastic polymer belonging to the nylon family, is the primary material in the additive manufacturing process known as “3D printed Nylon 12” or polyamide 12 (PA12). Typically, Nylon 12 is utilized as fine powder, which is selectively fused layer by layer using a laser in a technique known as powder bed fusion or selective laser sintering (SLS). This process enables the creation of robust, flexible, and impact-resistant objects with intricate geometries that are otherwise challenging to produce through traditional manufacturing methods. Nylon 12 boasts exceptional mechanical properties, chemical resilience, and durability, making it an ideal choice for various applications across industries such as consumer goods, automotive, and aerospace.
Nylon: A Material of Strength and Versatility
Nylon, known as polyamide or PA, is renowned for its strength and resilience, evidenced by its widespread use across various industries. From automotive components to electronic housings and sporting equipment, Nylon’s durability and flexibility make it indispensable. In 3D Printing, Nylon retains these favourable characteristics, making it the material of choice for producing functional parts, prototypes, and finished goods. Its key properties include:
- Chemical and impact resistance
- Moderate moisture absorption
- Resistance to sunlight
- High melting point
- Abrasion resistance
- Electrical insulation
Diverse Varieties of Nylon in 3D Printing
Nylon encompasses a spectrum of categories, each offering distinct features and applications. The options are diverse, from recycled and composite nylons to “filled” nylons containing additives like carbon fibres, glass, or kevlar, and sustainable nylons derived from renewable resources. The advent of sustainable nylons, such as Evonik’s Infinam eCO PA12, made from recycled cooking oil, underscores the industry’s shift towards eco-friendly materials.
Advantages of 3D Printed Nylon
Nylon’s strength and durability shine through in 3D printing applications, making it a preferred choice for many projects. Its benefits include:
- Strength: Nylon’s robust nature ensures longevity and resilience in parts subjected to heavy usage.
- Durability: Resistant to heat and chemicals, Nylon excels in environments with extreme conditions.
- Lightweight: Despite its strength, Nylon remains lightweight, ideal for applications requiring sturdiness without added bulk.
- Ease of Printing: Nylon filament is user-friendly, catering to novice and experienced 3D printers.
- Minimal Post-Processing: Nylon requires little post-processing, reducing production time and effort.
In essence, the power of 3D-printed Nylon lies in its ability to deliver strength, durability, and versatility, paving the way for innovative solutions in digital manufacturing.
Campetella Robotic Center’s Adoption of HP MJF Nylon 12 for Enhanced Industrial Robotics
Campetella Robotic Center, established in 1897, specializes in industrial robotics and automation systems, focusing on precision equipment like In-Mold Labelling (IML) for pharmaceuticals and food packaging industries. Campetella adopted HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology to enhance manufacturing, seeking robust parts and a streamlined workflow. With the MJF 4200 3D printer, they produced components like end-of-arm tooling and label holders, customizing products and improving functionality compared to traditional methods. The switch led to lighter spindles for labelling systems, halving weight compared to CNC methods and reducing tooling time-to-market from 8 to 4 weeks. This transformation highlights the potential of additive manufacturing in industrial robotics, boosting efficiency and performance.