New Thermoplastic Polyurethanes for Laser Sintering

TPU for laser sintered shoe soleBayer Material Science and Solid Composites GmbH are partnering to develop thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) powders for selective laser sintering. Solid Composites, a start-up company based in Voerde, Germany, will be awarded a brand license to market the new high-tech materials under the name Desmosint.

Solid Composites is a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT).

Until now, primarily soft, elastic materials and rigid thermoplastics, such as polyamide, were commercially available for selective laser sintering. “Our TPU products, with their high toughness, elasticity and strength, have now closed the gap between these material classes. And that opens the door to good application opportunities,” says Jürgen Hättig, TPU marketing specialist at Bayer Material Science.

The first representative of the new class of TPUs is Desmosint X 92 A-1. One of its advantages is that the build chamber is maintained at a temperature of only 176 °F (80 °C). “Because heating the processing space generates most of the total energy cost, this method results in significant savings. And our TPU has only a very low tendency to warp, meaning the sintering process runs very stably. Lastly, the non-sintered powder does not age inside the processing space and therefore can be used for the next job, an enormous cost advantage compared to the classical laser sintering material PA12,” Hättig explains.

At the end of the part’s service life, the plastic is fully recyclable.

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