Protolabs has officially launched polypropylene 3D printing in Europe.
Designed for selective laser sintering, this material is ideal to develop and test prototypes rapidly. It also enables too achieve complex designs such as honeycomb structures that were previously impossible in this material using injection moulding or CNC machining. Not to mention that it facilitates reduction of weight or organic shapes such as internal channels.
According to Andrea Landoni, 3D printing product manager for Protolabs: “Polypropylene is one of the most used plastics available to modern manufacturers and is widely used for a number of applications. Until recently you could only use 3D printed polypropylene-like materials that mimicked this plastic, but they did not have all of the same properties and were not as durable.”
“Now that we can cost effectively produce a prototype in polypropylene, design engineers can develop and test it in an application using the same material that it will be manufactured from. The product design can then be quickly reiterated and retested until they have the perfect solution, before they commit to tooling.”
With the addition of the most versatile of plastics, the digital manufacturer integrates all three technologies that can support a manufacturer through the complete product development cycle. From initial prototype to checking that the final design is suitable for mass manufacture using its Design for Manufacture Analysis software – which is available for its injection moulding and CNC services.
“Before if you wanted to use polypropylene then you were limited in what you could design by the manufacturing technology available to you. Now the only limitation is your imagination. There are many times however, when the best solution for a manufacturer may be to produce polypropylene parts using injection moulding or CNC machining. We can give you unbiased advice on which is best to use because we offer all three manufacturing technologies”, Landoni continues.
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