Materialise NV a leading company in 3D technology solutions in the industrial and medical markets, announced Bluesint PA12, a material innovation that makes it possible to 3D print with up to 100% re-used powder. 3D printing is often considered a sustainable manufacturing technology but a new Lifecycle Analysis indicates that for large series of identical products, 3D printing has a bigger environmental impact compared to conventional production technology. With the announcement of Bluesint PA12, Materialise creates a path towards eliminating waste in 3D printing.
Speaking about how the new innovation will work as a positive force and help companies to operate sustainably, Fried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise said, “Many people view 3D printing as a positive force that helps companies to operate more sustainably. However, that’s simply not enough. As we enter the fourth decade of 3D printing, the question is not whether 3D printing is sustainable manufacturing technology. The question becomes: what can we do to make 3D printing more sustainable?”
With Laser Sintering, the second most commonly used 3D printing technology, up to 50% of the powder becomes waste. The potential to recycle used powder is limited and 3D printing with only used powder creates surface problems that make the 3D printed object unsuitable for most applications. However, Materialise’s Bluesint PA12, makes it possible to print with up to 100% re-used powder, drastically increasing the resource efficiency of Laser Sintering.
With Bluesint PA12, powder that would normally be wasted can be given a second life to make new parts. Parts printed with Bluesint PA12 have similar mechanical properties, allowing users to make a choice not only based on technical specifications but also on the environmental impact.
Explaining how the innovation is a major step towards making 3D printing more sustainable, Jurgen Laudus, VP and General Manager of Materialise Manufacturing, said “With Bluesint PA12 we are able to significantly reduce powder waste. Bluesint PA12 represents a major step towards making 3D printing more sustainable and is an example of how we empower our customers to make a choice for sustainability.”