SABIC launches new 3D printing materials for the rail industry –


Saudi Society for Basic Industries (SABIC) announced a new flame retardant 3D printing material designed for use in the railroad industry. The new material, LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51will debut in Berlin InnoTrans 2022 (September 20-23), as well as a large front tailgate piece printed by CAF Digital Manufacturinga Spanish Additive Manufacturing (AM) service office.

According to SABIC, its new material has been independently tested and found to comply with railway fire safety standards in the EU (EN45545 standard) and the United States (NFPA-130 standard). As such, LNP THERMOCOMP AM DC0041XA51 is one of the first materials optimized for pellet AM to comply with the latest global rail industry fire safety regulations.

In a press release announcing the new 3D printing material, Luc Govaerts, Formulation and Application Development Manager, Specialties Business at SABIC, said, “We have developed our brand new LNP THERMOCOMP AM compound to offer the rail industry a regulatory compliant solution that can be used for on-demand printing of large and complex exterior and interior parts in relatively low run numbers. Lucas Esteban, Digital Manufacturing Operations Manager at CAF, added: “[The new material’s] The halogen-free flame retardant system meets current trends in durability, and its carbon fiber reinforcement and favorable treatment allow us to manufacture larger part geometries with sufficient rigidity and limited warping.

In addition to interior and exterior parts, the material is also well suited for printing large tools frequently used for the production of rail parts and rail repair. As in other sectors of heavy industry and transport, where more and more companies have been driven to adopt AM due to the particularly high cost of replacement inventory, SABIC says that railway companies could see significant cost reductions by turning to printing with LNP THERMOCOMP AM.

At InnoTrans, SABIC will also make its debut two other materials: Copolymer LNP ELCRES FST2734E, and LNP ELCRIN FST2734EB, a version of the first compound with 55% renewable raw materials. Both materials meet the same EU fire safety standard mentioned above and are considered ideal for track interiors.

Using AM for planes, cars, ships, and rockets seems to get more attention than AM applications for rail. However, rail is expected to be an increasingly attractive market for the AM sector, due to the importance of rail transport to virtually all commerce, the constant repairs of equipment required, and the seemingly endless vulnerability of the railway industry to work stoppages. Fraunhofer ILT, among others, seems very interested in developing 3D printed railway applications, making Berlin a suitable location choice for SABIC to launch the new materials.

In addition, the commitment made by Saudi Arabia earlier this year to triple its rail capacity means that the materials could be just as important for domestic markets as they are for international markets. Given that Saudi Aramco owns 70% of SABIC, this probably partly explains the company’s interest in the rail industry. Considering the Kingdom’s attempt to present itself on the world stage as being in the midst of a complete transformation, SABIC’s dives into cutting-edge technology are always worth watching.

Images courtesy of SABIC


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