Flight-Certified Material Can Benefit Aerospace and Other Manufacturers That Need Strong, Lightweight Plastic
Stratasys recently announced that it will offer SABIC’s ULTEM* 9085, a high performance thermoplastic for direct digital manufacturing and rapid prototyping. The material will be available from Stratasys for the FDM additive fabrication process in the first quarter of 2009.
ULTEM 9085 is a strong, light-weight, flame-retardant thermoplastic widely used in aircraft interiors. The material has a V-Ø rating for flame, smoke and toxicity (FST). Its availability for the FDM additive fabrication process will allow direct digital manufacturing and rapid prototyping with this material for the first time.
Because ULTEM 9085 is certified for use on commercial aircrafts, manufacturers can bypass a lengthy certification process. The material will be available for Stratasys’ top two additive fabrication machines – the FDM 900mc™ and FDM 400mc.™ Until today, ULTEM 9085 was available only for conventional manufacturing methods. The material was originally developed to help the aerospace industry boost fuel efficiency and safety. It offers strength and flexibility while producing 5 to 15 percent lighter interior parts than other aerospace plastics.
Air-conditioning vent built in ULTEM 9085
“More and more manufacturers are discovering direct digital manufacturing,” says Stratasys Vice President of Direct Digital Manufacturing Jeff DeGrange, (formerly of Boeing). Direct digital manufacturing or DDM is the process of manufacturing parts directly from CAD data using additive fabrication. DDM brings great efficiencies for low volume manufacturing and the ability to build spare parts on demand. “Having ULTEM 9085 available for the FDM process will allow aerospace manufacturers to adopt direct digital manufacturing on a larger scale.”
“DDM allows manufacturers to integrate part designs, which can significantly reduce part lead times,” says DeGrange. “And it can even allow the production of parts that couldn’t otherwise be manufactured with tradition methods. This can improve the assembly design and performance.” ULTEM 9085 is heat resistant up to 320° F (160° C) and is inherently flame retardant, offering full FST compliance including OSU heat release of less than 55/55, or 55 kw min/m2 for heat release and 55 kw/m2 for peak heat release. Besides the aerospace industry, Stratasys anticipates that the availability of ULTEM 9085 for FDM prototyping and production can benefit various industries, including the marine-product and automotive industries.
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