Illinois-based Impossible Objects has announced two advances in composite 3-D printing for the factory floor. The CBAM-2, the company’s latest 3-D printing system, and a new partnership with BASF, which operates a large facility in Southfield, on PA6-carbon fiber composites extend the company’s patented composite-based additive manufacturing process (CBAM) to an unprecedented range of industrial applications.
The new CBAM-2 3-D printing system, which will be shown for the first time at RAPID + TCT in Detroit, delivers complex parts on an industrial scale. The printing system speeds up the additive manufacturing process as much as 10 times. The printing system combines high-performance polymers with long-fiber carbon and fiberglass sheets to produce stronger, lighter, and more durable 3-D composite parts with better temperature performance.
“It’s been exciting to see how our customers are putting our approach to work to create high-performance parts for everything from aircraft and cars to lightweight athletic gear,” says Bob Swartz, founder and chairman of Impossible Objects. “We’re continuing to bring machines, materials, and expertise to the market to transform the entire manufacturing process, from prototyping through to high-volume production.”
Since Impossible Objects launched its Model One 3D printer at RAPID 2017, various Fortune 500 companies have adopted it. Major automotive manufacturers, including Ford Motor Co., Jabil, the United States Air Force, and the National Institute for Aviation Research are using Impossible Objects technology.
The CBAM-2 features production speed, support for high-strength composites, support for larger parts, increased precision, and streamlined maintenance. CBAM-2 machines are expected to be available in the third quarter.
Impossible Objects has also announced its Model One and CBAM-2 printers will support BASF’s Ultrasint PA6 (polyamide 6) powder. This will allow customers to 3-D print high-performance carbon fiber-PA6 composite parts for the first time. Parts made from carbon fiber-PA6 are stronger and have better temperature performance at lower cost than PA12. They are also up to four times stronger than Fused Deposition Modeling parts and twice as strong as Multi Jet Fusion parts containing PA12.
“Our collaboration with Impossible Objects opens up new possibilities for customers, especially in the automotive and industrial sectors, where we’re seeing strong demand for PA6,” says Kara Noack, regional business director of BASF 3-D Printing Solutions. “This partnership is in line with our philosophy of open innovation and support for open platforms. We’re encouraged by how Impossible Objects is using PA6 and are excited to work together to advance the state of additive manufacturing.”
PA6 adds to the materials currently supported by Impossible Objects and is slated to be available for shipment in the third quarter.