The most important goals of the plastics industry are the reduction of the CO2 footprint by switching from fossil to bio-based raw materials, as well as the avoidance of plastic micro- and nanoparticles as a waste problem due to accumulation in soil and water. In the field of conventional injection moulding production, great efforts have been made for more than 15 years to develop new, "green" materials and the appropriate resource-saving equipment and the necessary recycling chains. This greening is completely lacking in the area of additive manufacturing (AM, 3D printing) as an alternative technology with significantly higher potential for lightweight construction and weight savings. Optimisation potential exists here with a holistic view of the entire plastic 3D printing production chain, e.g. in the case of selective laser sintering (SLS), in all areas: from material selection for powder production to industrial AM process technology and post-processing. Optimised recycling in this context requires the elimination of multi-materials (consisting of different materials), as well as the introduction of impurities (e.g. by replacing fillers for wear protection, high UV resistance or oils and greases with highly functional coatings).
The objectives of the project are:
- Production of bio- and recyclate-based SLS materials (PA 10-10 and PP) for the future industrial production of components in specially highly stressed drive trains (automotive, consumer and mechanical engineering sectors).
- Thus, also extended lightweight construction possibilities through additive manufacturing
- Reduction of powder costs through maximised use of recycled material
- Development of a recycling-optimised protection of highly stressed SLS polymer surfaces against friction, wear and UV degradation from pure carbon coatings
The industrial utilisation of the results is planned two years after the end of the project within the framework of the already established "One-Stop-Shop" for SLS component development and series production. This has a broad network of manufacturers and OEMs in the automotive and consumer product sectors with a high level of interest in new, "green" materials in ecologised AM processes.