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History and development of SLS technology: from concept to practical application

The history of selective laser sintering (SLS) technology using PA12 (nylon) material is a fascinating journey from early concepts to widely used practical applications. The SLS method – currently one of the main additive manufacturing techniques in the world, has revolutionized the way we produce and design parts, especially in the field of high-performance polymers. The largest company in Poland using this additive technique is Technology Applied, which supplies parts to the largest industrial companies in Poland and Europe, representing virtually every sector of the global economy.

The early beginnings of SLS technology date back to the 1980s, when the invention and development of various 3D printing methods were the focus of scientists and engineers. Dr. Carl Deckard, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, pioneered the development of the SLS process with Professor Joe Beaman. The first patents for selective laser sintering were registered in 1989, opening the way to further research and development.

Materials development has been crucial to the advancement of SLS technology. In the initial stages, the main focus was on plastics. PA12 quickly became the material of choice due to its properties such as strength, flexibility and abrasion resistance. Nylon PA12 offered the perfect combination of ease of processing and durability, making it an ideal candidate for industrial applications.

The technical development of SLS machines took place in parallel with the exploration of new materials. Improving lasers, powder feeding mechanisms and control software has allowed for increased precision, speed and reliability of the printing process. The introduction of advanced process control techniques, such as temperature control and optimization of scanning parameters, has significantly improved the quality and consistency of prints.

In the 21st century, SLS technology with PA12 has grown in popularity, expanding its application beyond prototyping to final part production. Sectors such as automotive, aerospace, medicine and design have begun to use SLS to create complex parts that would be difficult or impossible to make using traditional methods. The leading suppliers of machines of this type include the German EOS, the American 3D Systems, and the Chinese Farsoon. Technology Applied – the largest Polish supplier of on-demand printed parts uses EOS 3D printers.

In summary, the story of SLS with the PA12 polymer reflects the evolution of 3D printing as a key technology supporting innovation in many fields. From theoretical concepts to practical industrial applications, SLS with PA12 has become a symbol of technological progress and versatility in additive manufacturing. To learn more about our ability to produce advanced, industrial-grade parts, contact Technology Applied.

Photos: www.ta.parts

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