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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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