3D-printed shock absorber with high degree of functionality

Complex demonstrator is made of three materials by three processes

At the Fakuma 2018 trade fair, Covestro will be presenting a complex shock absorber which was manufactured using 3D printing.

For years, Covestro has been developing customised polymer materials for all common manufacturing processes in 3D printing. Thanks to their diverse properties, the filaments, powders and liquid raw materials are suitable for many industries and applications.

At the Fakuma 2018 trade fair from 16 to 20 October in Friedrichshafen, the company will be presenting a demonstrator for a shock absorber at Stand 4206 in Hall B4. The complex part marks another milestone on the way from the creation of individual prototypes to the integration of various functions and mass production.

Production using various processes

In addition to its high degree of functionality, the unique feature of the shock absorber is the production of the individual parts from three different products and with the aid of three different manufacturing processes. The outer spring of the 40 x 7 cm part is made of powdered thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). It was shaped layer by layer using selective laser sintering and is notable for its elasticity and high abrasion resistance.

The adjusting screw inside the shock absorber has to be very strong and hard. For this reason, it is made of filaments of Covestro's robust polycarbonate material, using the fused filament fabrication (FFF) process. The air chamber in the interior is created from a liquid polyurethane resin. The digital light processing method has proven itself for such components with filigree structures – as in this case as well.

Combination of tailor-made materials

The individual components are subsequently connected to each other. "This complex structure would not have been possible with conventional production processes," explains Lukas Breuers, a marketing manager for 2D and 3D printing at Covestro.

"Another new development is the combination of different materials with various, tailor-made properties. This has enabled us to significantly expand the possibilities of additive production and its areas of application." Other products from the company for additive manufacturing are characterised by good heat resistance, abrasion resistance or flexibility, for example.

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