Ineos, SKZ, FAU: Energy savings with newly developed styrenics-based polymer for 3D printing

The purpose of the PolySLS project was to develop and test a new styrene based polymer compound for Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). A particular focus of the project was on researching energy and material requirements. Partners in the project were Ineos Styrolution, the Kunststoffzentrum (SKZ-KFE gGmbH) and the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

The project has been able to show that significant overall energy savings of up to 67 % have been achieved when taking the entire life cycle of a new styrenics polymer compound into account compared to using traditional polyamide 12 (PA12). A direct energy saving of 25 % was achieved from the 3D printing equipment when using the new styrenics polymer, resulting from lower process temperatures and shorter heating and cooling phases. This also improved the time needed to complete printing jobs, with processing times 7.5 % shorter than with PA12.

Energy savings of up to 67 % can be achieved when taking the entire life cycle of the new styrenics polymer compound into account. (Source: Ineos)

The new polymer compound has been developed for the described R+D purpose only. Potential future commercial availability will depend on various factors including results of further tests, demand and production capacity.

The PolySLS project was funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Project term was from August 2017 to November 2020.