A New Graphene-enhanced Filament Could Push the 3D-Printing Industry Forward
Haydale Composite Solutions, a subsidiary of Haydale Graphene Industries PLC, launched its first 3D printing material, a graphene-enhanced poly lactic acid (PLA) filament, at the TCT Show in late 2016. It’s an event dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of 3D printing materials, additive manufacturing, and product development.
The event was held in Birmingham on September 28–29. Even with all the hype surrounding graphene (an allotrope of carbon and one of the thinnest and strongest materials on earth), its true potential is not known to many, and the manufacturers of the new graphene-based 3D printing material hope to change that.
The filament will be available in 1.75mm and 2.85mm diameters compatible with a wide range of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printers, along with the versatility of any advanced graphene material.
The new material holds many advantages over regular PLA when it comes to printing, like first layer adhesion, better z-axis hold, and increase in printing speed, thus helping 3D printing technology to go beyond prototyping.
“Significant improvements in conventional materials are needed to move FDM 3D printers beyond making prototypes or display models and into a capable technology for rapidly manufacturing mechanically robust, functional parts.” – Joe Eldrige, Director of Fullerex Ltd
Considering the impact of the material on the overall graphene market, at the beginning of this year IDTechEx Research estimated that the market would grow to be worth $220 million by 2026. In a similar report done previously by IDTechEx, the market was estimated to be worth $200 million by 2026; a 10 percent growth owing to the success of the new products.
As per Acute Market Reports (AMR), the market will be worth $106 million as early as 2022 due to a rise in demand for the material in evolving economies like India and China. This is also due to graphene’s high versatility in manufacturing electronics products and various other equipment.
This Haydale venture adds to the number of graphene producers and helps cross-industry technologies with successful implementation of graphene-enhanced PLA filaments. It is expected that this will boost the graphene platelets (also sheets) market from 90 percent to around 97 percent or more.
“We are very excited about the development of graphene-enhanced thermoplastic materials for 3D printing. These new materials offer so many benefits including the ability to make parts stiffer, stronger, and faster! Speed of print has historically been a barrier to wide scale take up of 3D printing. In the future, the thought of making structural components direct from CAD excites us enormously.” – Gerry Boyce, MD, HCS
According to its manufacturers, the market for this material lies mainly in the car-making industry, where the simple 3D printing of the material through computer-aided design software is expected to give the industry an exponential growth.
Other than this, the electronics industry will also experience a boost due to the rising demand for printed electronics across a wide range of technologies. These technologies will include semiconductors, data storage devices, touch screens, wearables, conductive inks, optoelectronics, and sensors.