Following previous successful collaborations with AITIIP, Alchemie was invited to be part of the HERON project, with the goal of formulating a 2-component polyurethane system suitable for 3D printing large components. Alchemie specialise in developing and manufacturing polyurethane and epoxy resin systems, so this was considered to be an ideal project in which to apply the knowledge and technology acquired in over 30 years in the industry.
The polyurethane system was intended to be applied through an automated mixing and dispensing machine, with the key requirements being a long open time to allow large components to be printed and a fast cure speed to allow rapid production of components. The system was also required to have low density (in the region of 0.6gcm-3), high strength in order to withstand the harsh processing conditions and be non-sagging, to allow the production of complicated components, including components with overhanging sections.
Following an extensive R&D process, Alchemix PU 3721 has been developed. The targets of low density, high strength and non-sag have been met. Significant work has also been carried out to optimise the manufacturing process, allowing the consistent production of large batches of material. PU 3721 is undergoing extensive trials on the automated dispensing equipment at AITIIP.