Filament Materials in Industrial Applications

Filament materials for industrial applications

Industry applications and use cases

The appropriate filament material for a  part depends on the use case or application of the print. Let us look at three popular use cases for 3D printing, and some of the best materials for them.

Product development

When prototyping or concept modelling, what matters most is getting your product to market in the fastest possible time. Product development revolves around getting quick and cheap iterations that will allow you to prove your design and product value. To be effective, then, prototypes must be easy to print and affordable. This is why the most popular materials for product development are PLA and Tough PLA. If prints are geometrically complex, support material such as dissolvable PVA or Breakaway will be useful. Additionally, as it is often helpful for a prototype to resemble a finished product, it may be wise to choose a material that has strong aesthetic properties.

Manufacturing tools

Manufacturing tools can enable more efficient and effective working conditions when 3D printed. Valuable time can be saved on an assembly line via the use of a jig; holding the product in place with a fixture; or simply improving a tool’s ergonomics by making it lighter. Nylon is a popular material for such use cases, as it is light, strong, and tough. Other materials that could prove useful in the 3D printing of manufacturing tools include those that are wear-resistant, ESD-safe, post-processable, and flexible. These properties allow you to print parts that fits well for your working environment.

End-use parts

End-use parts must be able to be used for as long as possible without breaking or becoming damaged. That is why it is important to consider materials with strong mechanical properties, as well as those which can withstand environmental conditions. These materials include those that are UV-resistant, chemical-resistant, flame-retardant, wear-resistant, or temperature-resistant. Composite materials such as glass or carbon-fiber, are often used to achieve the desired mechanical properties.