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Formlabs introduces self-extinguishing resin for 3D printing

Formlabs introduced the self-extinguishing Flame Retardant Resin – the first material for 3D printing in 3D printing technology from light-curing resins (SLA), certified by UL 94 V-0. Created specifically for the transportation, aerospace, industrial, electronics, medical and aerospace industries, Flame Retardant Resin allows new customer applications with tightly controlled processes.

Parts made of the new resin can be used by the aerospace, automotive and medical industries. It can be used to produce production tools for environments with high temperatures or near ignition sources, electronic housings, connectors and shields, as well as high power electrical applications (e.g. transformer coils and relays).

Thanks to the new solution, users of Formlabs 3D printers can take advantage of the speed and freedom of 3D printing design, while meeting regulatory requirements. The company’s SLA technology combined with Flame Retardant Resin provides a comprehensive solution for the design and manufacture of parts requiring self-extinguishing properties to UL 94.

For manufacturers in the aerospace, electronics, medical and transportation industries requiring fire-resistant parts, this is standard. Environments with sparks, ether or other fuel sources require stricter controls to ensure product and workplace safety. The gold standard of certification in these areas is the UL 94 standard – certification of the flammability of plastics, which determines the tendency of the material to self-extinguish or spread flames. Flame Retardant Resin is UL 94 V-0 Blue Card certified, meets FAR 25.853(a) and smoke and toxicity testing, and is resistant to open flame, ignition sources, and high temperature environments.

Traditionally, plastics that meet these standards are machined, injected or cast. These processes often require expensive industrial equipment or lengthy manual labour. Many companies outsource machine or casting work but face long lead times or high expediting fees. Less expensive in-house processes such as casting require users to perform a multi-stage silicone and polyurethane casting process based on machined or 3D printed patterns. Traditionally, both outsourced and in-house processes are expensive, inefficient, and labor intensive, making it difficult to continue to use them where UL 94 rating is required.

Advances in 3D printing materials have enabled access to heat-resistant or fire-resistant materials, but with some drawbacks. Many FDM/FFF 3D printer companies offer flame retardant filaments, but these parts are not suitable for functionality testing, final customer products, or maintenance and repair applications. Other technologies, such as SLA, previously offered heat-resistant 3D printing materials that are isotropic, strong, and have excellent surface quality, but were not UL 94 certified.

Flame Retardant Resin combines these aspects to enable high-performance applications and certified, safe processes, all thanks to the availability and power of the Formlabs SLA platform. After curing at 80°C for 120 minutes, parts made of Flame Retardant Resin have a heat bending temperature (HDT) of 111°C at 0.45 MPa and a tensile modulus of 3.1 GPa. Other materials designed for high temperatures can be brittle, but Flame Retardant Resin can be used as a component in functional assembly and drilled for threads. The parts are rigid and creep resistant, making them reliable and durable in indoor and industrial environments. Unlike many parts made of filaments, Flame Retardant Resin has a smooth, matte surface with clean lines and high dimensional accuracy, making the parts suitable for end products or components in assemblies that require close tolerances.

Flame Retardant Resin can streamline product manufacturing processes from iterative design to low-copy final parts. Using Flame Retardant Resin and Formlabs Form3+ or Form 3L printers, users can rapidly prototype using the same material they use for functional testing, environmental testing, and low to medium production runs. Using a single material throughout the process can help reduce design rework and allow product managers to focus solely on performance and user feedback. Durable, functional parts that meet all regulatory requirements help companies get their products into the hands of customers and take advantage of market opportunities.

Source: www.formlabs.com
Photos: www.formlabs.com (press materials / all rights reserved)

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