Ultradur High Speed, a high-flow PBT that BASF introduced last year, has now become the company's first engineering plastic to receive an "eco-efficiency" label after a third-party review of the material's energy-saving potential. The material contains nano-scale additives that reduce its viscosity by roughly 50 percent — without sacrificing other properties. This easy flow has implications for molders trying to fill thin wall parts or cut cycle times. But it also has an environmental benefit in the form of energy savings. Extra flow can reduce the amount of energy needed to make a given part — by reducing molding machine temperatures, molding pressures and cycle times. The savings can be significant, according to an eco-efficiency review conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Energy usage from reducing molding machine heats and pressures can be 20 percent less than a comparable higher viscosity polymer. Cycle time reduction, with its obvious energy implications, can fall by 30 percent. For more information on Ultradur, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4933-533.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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