Black ULTEM Stratasys (stratasys.com) is offering a new thermoplastic material that comes in any color you like, as long as it’s black—Black Ultem 9085, that is. The material is from SABIC Innovative Plastics (sabic-ip.com).
Like Henry Ford’s legendary obstinacy, there’s a good reason for that. Most takers for the thermoplastic material designed for the company’s Stratasys’ FDM 900mc and FDM 400mc additive manufacturing systems sought out black because it provides a uniform appearance to product assemblies, and so Stratasys complied. The standard ULTEM material, previously made in tan hues, had just the opposite effect of showcasing the grime. “It also helps mask dirt or grease found in mechanical systems or under the hood, in the fuselage, or on the manufacturing floor. For many users, the black color will eliminate the need for the non-value-added post-processing step of painting or coating,” said Fred Fischer, business development director at Stratasys.
The company recently presented a case study involving Minimizer, a conversely named manufacturer of semi truck fenders and accessories. Minimizer uses ULTEM for its prototype parts, especially those that require drilling or must be secured with fasteners or mated with other parts.
“We found that [because] the ULTEM has high tensile strength and is rigid, it’s a good alternative for us to prototype with. Having the black material is a big bonus for us. We don’t have to spend the time to finish the part, and we get the same material properties we look for in the [standard] ULTEM material.”
Mounting brackets are commonly made from glass fiber and tough, rigid plastics, which can be a challenge to prototype, according to Minimizer mechanical engineer, Martin Larsen.
“When we make an FDM part and mount it on a truck there’s a lot of drilling, using fasteners and even mating parts together,” he says. “We found that [because] the ULTEM has high tensile strength and is rigid, it’s a good alternative for us to prototype with. Having the black material is a big bonus for us. We don’t have to spend the time to finish the part, and we get the same material properties we look for in the (standard) ULTEM material.”