High-performance polymers such as PEEK are difficult to print; it is hard to ensure that the properties of printed parts approach those of bulk material. Dutch start-up Bond High Performance 3D Technology, however, has succeeded in developing a unique 3D-printing technology – including system mechatronics, software, slicing technology and process validation – for producing high-end functional parts from PEEK. A recent investment by UK-based Victrex, a leading manufacturer of PEEK, is now helping Bond 3D to bring its technology to the market. Among other things, one of the key elements of Bond 3D’s technology, ‘bondability’, is facilitated by pressure-controlled voidless printing.
PEEK, polyetheretherketone, the best-known member of the PAEK (polyaryletherketone) family of highperformance thermoplastic polymers, finds applications in high-end markets such as semiconductor, medical, aerospace, energy and automotive because of its combination of qualities: lightweight, high strength, chemical resistivity, thermal stability (–50 to +150 °C) and biocompatibility.