The Top PEEK and ULTEM FDM 3D Printers on the Market
3D printing materials have continued to develop in recent years, meeting the demand of professionals looking for solutions that can meet industrial, mechanical and chemical constraints. The additive manufacturing market has therefore begun to welcome more high-performance materials, that are high performance and, above all, resistant to high temperatures. Mainly marketed in filament form, today PAEK (polyaryletherketones) is available – a family that includes PEEK, PEKK, and PEI (which you probably know under the trade name ULTEM), developed by General Electric in the 1980s. However, as they are such complex materials, only certain 3D printers are capable of working with materials like PEEK and ULTEM.
Today, we will be looking at PEEK and ULTEM FDM/FFF machines – though you should know that powder-based solutions are also available on the market, if less popular. These two high performance thermoplastics require more complex printing parameters, particularly an extrusion temperature of more than 350°C, a heated chamber and a build plate capable of reaching at least 100°C. These technical constraints explain the relatively low number of 3D printers compatible with these materials on the market. To help you in your search, 3Dnatives has brought together the some of the best ULTEM and PEEK 3D printers, based on FDM technology, and listed in alphabetical order.
Canadian manufacturer AON3D has developed the AON M2+, the company’s fifth generation of high-temperature 3D printers. Like the other solutions on the list, the machine allows for the use of high-performance materials such as PEEK or ULTEM. The printer is equipped with two independent extruders that can heat up to 500°C. These are made of stainless steel and are compatible with glass and carbon fiber. The printing plate can go up to 200°C. Finally, the printing chamber can reach 135°C. The properties of the AON M2+ make the final parts impact, heat, chemical and wear resistant. The largest manufacturing volume in its class is 450 x 450 x 640 mm. The highest layer thickness is up to 0.05 mm and the travel speed is up to 500 mm/s.
Apium is a German manufacturer specialising in the development of PEEK 3D printers, one of which has been developed specifically for the medical sector. The one we are interested in here is the P220, an industrial 3D printer capable of creating parts measuring 205 x 155 x 150 mm. Its extruder can heat up to 540°C and its build plate can reach 160°C. Above all, it is equipped with an adaptive heating system: the manufacturer has installed a device that rises to 180°C, just above the printing area, and forms a film of hot air. This allows the printer to improve layer adhesion and surface quality. Energy consumption is thus optimised as well as machine preparation. The Apium P220 is also compatible with carbon fiber reinforced PEEK and ULTEM.
The Chinese manufacturer Creatbot has developed a 3D printer capable of making parts out of PEEK. It is particularly unique because it integrates a “Direct Annealing System”, i.e. an annealing process during printing in order to give the parts the best possible quality, without deformation or cracking. This technology avoids time-consuming post-processing steps. The Creabot PEEK-300 is a dual extrusion machine, capable of heating up to 500°C. Its printing plate can heat up to 200 °C while its chamber reaches 120 °C. It offers a printing volume of 300 x 300 x 400 mm in single extrusion (240 x 300 x 400 mm in double). Finally, it is a relatively compact machine that integrates a number of features to facilitate the printing process.
The American giant Stratasys has developed the Fortus 450mc to enable manufacturers to print high-performance materials of large size. Its print volume is indeed quite generous at 406 x 355 x 406 mm. It is an ideal machine for all specialized sectors such as automotive, medicine or aeronautics that are looking to create solid components, resistant prototypes and production tools of all kinds.
FUNMAT Pro 610HT
Intamsys, based in Shanghai, specializes in high performance materials 3D printing solutions. The company manufactures the FUNMAT HT and FUNMAT PRO HT series. The FUNMAT Pro 610HT is one of their latest releases, it is capable of handling high performance materials such as PEEK, PEKK, ULTEM, and also comes with a dual nozzle that can reach 500°C and a heated chamber of 300°C. Compared to other models, this is a larger solution, boasting a build volume of 610 x 508 x 508mm. Parts made with this machine are perfect for automotive, aerospace, Oil & Gas, and more. The manufacturer also explains that the build chamber has been optimized to avoid warpage by achieving a constant temperature throughout the building process, resulting in parts with higher mechanical strength.
Essentium HSE 280i HT
Essentium is known for its industrial 3D printing solutions, ranging from AM machines to high-performance materials. This company was born in 2013 with the goal of creating a new generation of extrusion materials with strength flexibility and speed that would drive the future of additive manufacturing. In 2018, it was launched as a comprehensive solution to the market proposing solutions in both technology and machines. Now, it has launched it considers to be to the first printer whose dual extruders are independent (IDEX) from both the X and Y axis and capable of printing with PEEK and other high-performance materials. The Essentium HSE 280i HT is capable of solving problems of speed, durability and scalability. It also has an open ecosystem, demanded by 96% of manufacturers as it allows them to have greater control. As for the specifications of this printer, it has two printheads, a Gen 5 Hoozle heated nozzle with a diameter of 0.4 to 0.8 that reaches 550º C. It has a size of 1590 x 1350 x 2490 mm and a weight of 850Kg. Check out the video below for you to learn more about the Essentium HSE 280i HT.
INDUSTRY F421 From 3DGence
The INDUSTRY F421 from 3DGence is an industrial 3D printer designed to print high performance polymers such as ULTEM, PEEK and PEKK. According to the manufacturer, this machine guarantees the best quality, dimensional accuracy and reproducible results and impresses with its printing speed of up to 400 mm/s and 1 meter per second. This makes the INDUSTRY F421 a great tool for rapid prototyping. The large print volume of 380 x 380 x 420 mm allows for the printing of large models in one run. The 3D printer also allows printing of high-performance materials that are additionally reinforced to make the resulting final parts even more durable. Each 3DGence INDUSTRY F421 can be equipped with hardware that enables the safe printing of reinforced materials. The INDUSTRY F421’s filtration system also provides extremely good filtration performance, which is not often found in printers powered by FFF technology. The advanced three-stage filtration unit retains macro particles, nanoparticles (VOC, UFP), solvent vapors or harmful gases, enabling user safety and continuity of the technological process.
Introduced earlier this year, the MAGIC-HT-MAX follows the line of solutions offered by the Asian manufacturer IEMAI 3D. Capable of manufacturing high performance parts, the machine uses FDM technology to manufacture with more than 16 different materials (PEEK, PEKK, ULTEM,…). It has a printing volume of 500 x 500 x 700mm and a heated tray that reaches 180°C. In addition, it integrates a liquid cooling system, an end of filament sensor and the ability to recover and resume printing in case of power failure. Despite being an industrial machine, the manufacturer specializes in providing affordable solutions for players in the additive manufacturing industry.
The Finnish manufacturer miniFactory is especially known for its high temperature 3D printers. The miniFactory Ultra has a build volume of 330 x 180 x 180 mm. Its extruder can reach a temperature of up to 470°C to work with materials such as ULTEM, PEEK, PAEK, PPS and PA. The latest model has two of these extruders. What is special with regard to temperature is that the miniFactory Ultra has a particularly good insulation of the installation space, which is why it can use lower temperatures than other printers to process high-performance materials. In addition, the printer is equipped with a large touch screen, which makes control particularly easy.
Orion AM is a company dedicated to industrial additive manufacturing for advanced applications using aerospace-grade polymers. As such, it should come as no surprise that their A150 Series is compatible with high-temperature, high-performance polymers including PEEK and PEKK. This advanced industrial additive manufacturing system allows for the 3D using Thermal Radiation Heating, a process using thermal radiation in all directions to efficiently heat the printed object up to 300°C, allowing the resulting parts to have superior strength properties. The printing bed has a max temperature of 300°C and the extruder has a max temperature of 500°C. Additionally, thanks to TRH the chamber temperature can reach 315°C while the layer heater temperature goes up to 370°C. The solutions are compatible with PEEK, PAEK, PEKK, PEI, ULTEM1010, ULTEM9085, ABS, PC, PA6, PA12 and PPSF/PPSU.
Roboze ONE +400 Xtreme
Italian 3D printing manufacturer Roboze specializes in the production of large parts as well as custom batches with its solutions, including the ARGO 500. Introduced in 2017, the maximum extruder temperature for this printer is 550 degrees, with 180 degrees for the build chamber. Manufactured for professional use, the 3D printer has a print bed size of 500 x 500 x 500 mm, in addition to a total weight of 1700 kg. A specific feature of the ARGO 500 is definitely the fully automatically regulated process variables: from the leveling of the build plate to the calibration of the extruder or even the automatic change of the filament: everything is automated and does not require human assistance. Moreover, this 3D printer is equipped with remote maintenance modules that reduce downtime and thus increase productivity.
The Italian manufacturer 3ntr has developed a machine compatible with PEEK, ULTEM but also PPS. It is equipped with a powerful electronic system to control the temperature in an optimal way and thus allow the creation of complex parts with high mechanical properties. It has a volume of 300 x 300 x 300 mm, four extruders with a temperature range up to 500°C, a chamber up to 250°C, and comes with a heated compartment for storing high-performance thermoplastics. The build plate can be heated up to 300°C.
The Dutch company Tractus 3D has specialised in the development of Delta printers. The company’s self-proclaimed goal is to develop the most affordable printers possible for industrial applications. With its second 3D printer in the DESK series, the company has succeeded in developing a printer that is based on FDM and, with its dimensions of 550 x 476 x 1140 mm, also fits into an office. It can process materials such as PLA, PEEK and ULTEM. The extruder of the T850 can be heated up to 300°C, making it capable of melting materials such as PEEK. According to the manufacturer, the extruder needs less than 90 seconds to reach this temperature. In terms of printing speed, the T850 P is capable of printing up to 450 mm per second at a resolution of 10 microns.
Last year, Polish manufacturer Zortrax presented its new machine called Zortrax Endureal. With a print volume of 400 x 300 x 300 mm and a maximum precision of 100 µm on the Z-axis, it is equipped with a dual extruder and an aluminium build plate to improve the adhesion of high-performance thermoplastics. Among its features is an advanced thermal management system that makes it easier to control the temperature of the chamber as well as the extrusion temperature. There are also 17 sensors so that the user can monitor the print job in real time and be alerted in the event of a machine failure. Zortrax offers its own range of materials including Z-PEEK, which is wear and abrasion resistant; Z-PEI 9085 for aerospace, Z-ESD, and Z-ULTRAT Plus. According to the manufacturer, the Zortrax Endureal is an ideal industrial machine for designing aerospace and medical applications.
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