R&D project reports 67% energy savings with styrenics polymer tailored for 3D printing

Energy savings increase to two thirds when taking material production into account

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3D printing
R&D project reports 67% energy savings with styrenics polymer tailored for 3D printing

INEOS Styrolution, the global enterprise in styrenics, recently announced first results of the PolySLS project, which is focused on developing a new energy-saving styrenics based material for additive manufacturing, otherwise known as “3D printing.”

The project has been able to show that significant overall energy savings of up to 67% have been achieved when taking the entire life cycle of a new styrenics polymer compound into account compared to using traditional Polyamide 12 (PA12).

A direct energy saving of 25% was achieved from the 3D printing equipment when using the new styrenics polymer, resulting from lower process temperatures and shorter heating and cooling phases. This also improved the time needed to complete printing jobs, with processing times 7.5 percent shorter than with PA12.

Bianca Wilhelmus, Global Application Development manager at INEOS Styrolution and project lead for PolySLS, says, “Styrenics based materials continue to amaze me. Even 90 years after the first production of polystyrene, there are still new things to explore. Styrenics based materials have incredible, beneficial properties.”

Yvonne van Veen, Market Innovation Strategy director at INEOS Styrolution, adds, “With the additive manufacturing industry growing at very high rates, we are excited we have developed a material that not only contributes to energy saving and sustainable production but also is an easy material to handle in the printing process.”

The PolySLS project was funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The PolySLS project’s purpose was to develop and test a new styrene-based polymer compound for selective laser sintering (SLS). A particular focus of the project was on researching energy and material requirements.

The project was started in August 2017 and carried out in collaboration with the Süddeutsche Kunststoffzentrum (SKZ-KFE gGmbH) and the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. The project ended in November 2020.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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