Swedish manufacturer Wematter is now expanding the materials portfolio for the Gravity 2021 SLS 3D printer with Aurora TPU, a rubber-like and durable material that can be used for a variety of applications in the medical technology and automotive industries, among others. Aurora TPU was developed in close cooperation with one of the company’s largest customers, which operates in the manufacturing of outdoor power products.
Wematter is constantly developing its Gravity SLS 3D printer ecosystem to offer its customers more choices of additive manufacturing materials. As part of this initiative, Wematter is continually investing in new powder materials to meet market demand and is now launching Aurora TPU. TPU stands for thermoplastic polyurethane and is a form of TPE or thermoplastic elastomer. The material can be used in applications such as medical technology, healthcare, automotive, sporting goods, and other consumer products.
“I think it’s really cool that we can start from a powder and then achieve rubbery prints with such soft properties that Aurora TPU now offers. It is proof that Gravity as a platform has great potential, and that the technical solutions we have chosen have been the right way to go. We can now process a wide range of materials, from really hard with fiber reinforcement to very soft with TPU,” said Robert Kniola, founder, and CEO of Wematter.
Showcases the capability of the Gravity 3D printer
Aurora TPU is an important step in Wematters’ product development. Being able to print parts in soft and flexible materials now demonstrates the high quality and capability of the company’s 3D printers, which many additive manufacturing companies are unable to do. Typically, additive manufacturing is associated with producing hard and rigid objects; SLS technology is best known for fine detail and high surface quality prints made from polyamides.
With the addition of Aurora TPU to Wematter’s Aurora family of powders, more industries and sectors are able to use SLS 3D printing. TPU prints are highly durable, do not absorb water, and are resistant to UV light, oil, grease, and solvents, making them well suited for gaskets, hoses, and tires. High volumes of TPU are also found in companies that manufacture shoe soles for high-end running shoes. The strengths of using TPU in SLS printing include the ability to print fine details and a smooth surface while retaining high abrasion and resistance to wear.
“We will continue to explore this material group with a view to developing more materials with the requested properties of elastomers. I am pleased that we have chosen a robust and reliable power source that can also handle white TPU – or any other color you like, for that matter,” concluded Robert Kniola.