Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) launched two grades of 3D printing technology—OXFAB-N and OXFAB-ESD—and says this technology will improve how aircraft and industrial components are manufactured. Paul Martin, OPM president, says it is suitable for transportation, energy and semiconductor applications.

The OXFAB technology platform is used to formulate poly-ether-ketone-ketone (PEKK), a polymer with improved strength, chemical resistance, low- and high-temperature performance, radiation resistance, enhanced wear properties and ultra-low outgassing. This technology has been in development in Oxford, United Kingdom, since 2006 and was first used in the biomedical field in orthopedics.

OPM Aerospace & Industrial uses OXFAB technology to produce lightweight, 3D-printed thermoplastic parts for commercial and military aircraft, spacecraft, and eventually, automotive applications.

OXFAB-N is composed of unmodified neat PEKK, a material with a low microwave dielectric constant that is suited for radomes and other “unique" electrical applications. OXFAB-ESD is a carbon-filled PEKK compound with mechanical properties that make it suitable for structural applications.

Martin says, “While additive manufacturing with commodity polymers has been taking place for some time now, this is the first time PEKK is being used for 3D printing in aerospace and industrial applications." He says that the company is delivering significant weight and cost savings.

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