Ultrasint™ TPU01: A new versatile and fast processing material for Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing

Posted On 01 June 2020 Ashlea Hoang
Hexagon

With new material Ultrasint™ TPU01 now available for production through Multi Jet Fusion at Protolabs, the design possibilities are endless. This highly processable thermoplastic polyurethane is only available through HP Multi Jet Fusion printers, and has been optimised for enhanced handling and faster processing times.

Before thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) the go-to material for flexible 3D printing was thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), but the softness of TPE makes it a bit more challenging to handle in the 3D printing process. TPU straddles the line between rubber and plastic. It has a rubber-like elasticity but is also highly durable, withstands abrasion, tear, oil, grease and UV. It is also more rigid and experiences less shrink than TPE.

Until fairly recently, if you wanted to 3D print TPU your choices were limited to SLS or FDM. The arrival of Ultrasint™ TPU01 means your options have now opened further adding MJF to the mix.
3D Printing TPU with MJF means you now have access to finer minimum feature resolutions, stronger parts, accelerated build times and improved surface roughness. On top of that, it’s suitability for producing lattice structures means that the design possibilities are unlimited.

What makes Ultrasint™ TPU01 really great is that it’s well suited to both prototyping and production. If you are looking to prototype a part and TPU is the material you want, you’ll find that partnering with Protolabs gives you an even greater advantage. The partnership would allow you to leverage the capabilities of our in-house Application Engineering team, who will be on-hand with the knowledge to help get your parts designed quicker. Combined with the speed of the Multi Jet Fusion process, you could have your first prototypes in hand within a matter of days. It doesn’t end there, if you then want to take your part to production, Protolabs can see you through the entire product development cycle and on to moulding.

Now to get technical with Ultrasint™ TPU01 – at Protolabs, tolerances of +/- 0.30mm plus 0.002mm/mm can be achieved on well-designed parts (though to note that tolerances may change depending on part geometry). It has a shore hardness of 88A, tensile strength of 9MPa +/- 2MPa on the x-y plane and an Elongation at break greater than 220%. For further technical information, please refer to our Ultrasint™ TPU01 datasheet.

With Ultrasint™ TPU01’s long list of attributes, it’s no surprise that it can be used for a multitude of applications. Its rubber-like elasticity, durability and shock absorption are all excellent attributes for parts being produced in the sport and leisure industry, such as; the soles of running shoes, hoses or orthopaedic models. Its chemical resistance to oil and grease, flexibility and high thermal stability are all characteristics that make it a good candidate for parts to be produced in the transportation industry. Here it is commonly used for parts such as tubes, wheels, ducts, seals and gaskets or any other application where excellent resistance under dynamic loading is required.

One of the many goods thing about Ultrasint™ TPU01 is that you can design anything you want, maintain excellent part accuracy and a strong, well-balanced property profile – all at comparatively low cost.

Whether the challenge is to design complex parts that weren’t previously available, to produce functional production parts with numerous properties, or increase your speed to market, the option to utilise TPU through MJF has really expanded your design landscape.