Polish 3D printer manufacturer Sinterit has added a new electrostatic safe 3D printing material to its portfolio called PA11 ESD. 

The company’s seventh SLS powder is its first to feature electrostatic discharge (ESD) functionality, which enables the production of conductive parts with dissipative qualities. Sinterit’s latest polymer could open a range of new electronics applications to its Lisa systems, such as 3D printed casings, connectors or fixtures for use in ESD-safe areas. 

“The PA11 ESD, bio-sourced from castor oil, is our new proposition dedicated to the electronics and automotive industry,” said Konrad Glowack, Co-Founder of Sinterit. “ESD-safe materials with better thermal properties and dimension stability was something that our clients asked for, and now we are glad to deliver it.”

Sinterit's new PA11 ESD material (pictured) enables the production of parts with dissipative qualities. Image via Sinterit.
Sinterit’s new PA11 ESD material (pictured) allows for the production of parts with dissipative qualities. Image via Sinterit.

3D printing ESD-optimized parts 

Within certain applications, 3D printed and electronic components often come into close contact, and if the former doesn’t feature sufficiently dissipative qualities, static electricity can build-up causing sparks to occur. These static bursts sometimes cause damage to the electronic parts, and in potentially explosive atmospheres, outcomes could be much more severe. 

ESD-safe materials mitigate such issues by providing a moderately conductive “exit path” for the charge that naturally dissipates any static build-up during operation. Utilizing this technology, all electronics firms have ‘safe areas’ within their production lines, in which only electrostatic-optimized tools can be deployed. 

These designated ESD factory zones may provide peace of mind for manufacturers, but they also prevent them from 3D printing replacement parts with conventional polymers. As a result, material producers such as Innofil3D (and now Sinterit) have launched a new range of ESD filaments that seek to address this emerging electronics market. 

Sinterit's PA11 ESD powder has already been used to safely create electronics products in case studies. Photo via Sinterit.
Sinterit’s PA11 ESD powder has already been used to safely create electronics products during case studies. Photo via Sinterit.

Sinterit’s static-friendly powder 

Sinterit’s portfolio includes a range of flexible printing materials including three Flexa TPUs and one Rubber TPE, which have each been adopted in a wide variety of sectors. With its latest polymer, the firm has opted to enhance its PA11 Onyx materials with ESD-safety and thermal resistance qualities, to create an even better powder. 

As a result, Sinterit says that its PA11 ESD plastic possesses enhanced thermal performance compared to its predecessors, as well as greater dimensional stability. The new plastic powder is also based on bio-sourced castor oil, making it a more sustainable alternative to the chemical-based conductive plastics on the market.  

Due to the mechanical qualities of PA11 ESD, Lisa users can now fabricate parts that are suited to products certified for working in potentially explosive atmospheres. Being able to safely produce explosion-proof components could open various new applications for Sinterit’s SLS machines, in areas where flammable particles are present such as building and vehicle spraying sites. 

The new material could allow Sinterit's Lisa users to access new markets in the electronics and automotive industries. Photo via Sinterit.
The new polymer could allow Sinterit’s Lisa users to access new markets in the electronics and automotive industries. Photo via Sinterit.

ESD-compliant 3D printed components are also highly-desirable within the automotive industry, in which electronics and spare parts often come into contact on the factory floor. Automotive firm Continental, for instance, recently acquired a Stratasys Fortus 450mc for this purpose, and Sinterit’s latest material could enable its users to address this market too. 

In addition, due to its functionality, PA11 ESD material is compatible with capacitive touch-screens. As a result, Sinterit’s material potentially creates new applications for its technology in human-screen interactions, and provides it with the ability to deliver better solutions for artificial hands.

Sinterit is also promoting an upcoming product via its website, which it claims will take post-processing “to the next level,” and make it “easier than it has ever been.” Although the company is currently remaining tight-lipped about the details, interested parties can find out more at the online launch event on December 3rd 2020 at 3pm CEST. 

To register for the virtual webinar, just head to the Sinterit website and complete the sign-up form

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Featured image shows Sinterit’s new PA11 ESD powder alongside a 3D printed electronics product. Image via Sinterit.