Toray Industries has completed a mass production system and launched sales of Toraypearl PA6, considered the “first” truly spherical nylon 6 particle and offering exceptional strength, heat resistance and smooth surface for 3D printers at powder bed fusion. These platforms, commonly used in industrial applications, deposit metal and resin particles. The lasers serve as heat sources to repeatedly melt and solidify the modeled parts. Toray’s production facility for this offering is expected to be fully operational by the fiscal year ending March 2026.
Photo credit: Toray Industries
Powder bed fusion 3D printers provide 3D printed parts with excellent dimensional accuracy and efficiency. Metals are for applications requiring exceptional strength while resins are commonly used due to their light weight and affordable cost. However, the polymer particles containing the mainly used nylon 12 and others are irregularly shaped. Printed surfaces therefore require polishing and other post-processing to use them in prototypes or end-use parts, with increased cost and time being the problem. This prompted Toray to apply its proprietary nylon particle technology to nylon 6, which has a high melting point and good mechanical properties. The company’s technology creates spherical particles when nylon is polymerized from monomers and can be applied with nylons 6, 66, 12 and other nylons.
This offering responds to customer demand for printed parts with smoother surfaces, greater strength, and heat resistance under harsher conditions. The exceptional performance characteristics of Toraypearl PA6 enable 3D printing of complex and precise shapes as well as a smooth surface, which can reduce the need for polishing and other post-processing steps. In addition, the spherical particles ensure the fluidity necessary for 3D printing, even when mixed with reinforcing glass fibers, for modeling that combines excellent rigidity with the attributes mentioned above.
Toray will take advantage of these capabilities by initially offering prototypes of automotive parts, power tools, and other equipment that require a lot of strength, heat resistance, and precision. It is ultimately looking to expand into the 3D printer market for end-use parts.
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