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Home > News > Rubber and Elastomers

Building blocks of 3D printing innovation with advanced TPU

Source:Adsale Plastics Network Date :2023-04-26 Editor :Sofie Chiong

Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is one of those ubiquitous polymer choices that spans diverse technologies in manufacturing. Today, industry leaders combine their material expertise with 3D printing capabilities to transform market visions into real innovations.


Lubrizol 3D Printing Solutions is going beyond the cutting-edge of 3D printing solutions with the joint development of new varioShoreTPU materials with colorFabb.


As introduced, the new materials increase foaming capabilities and present extra functionalities for additive manufacturing.


varioShoreTPU’s unique filament technology enables a different hardness range to be printed within a single 3D part. ESTANE 3D TPU technology provides lightweight and soft touch properties, allows for the hardness to be lowered if needed (from 92 to 60 Shore A), with the added benefit of expanding 1.4-1.6 times its original volume.

The developments are a result of Lubrizol’s and colorFabb’s joint work on the next generation of varioShore TPU with more colors and resulting in greater aesthetics in finished parts.


With varioShoreTPU, colorFabb offers a velvety matte, soft but tough, unique 3D print filament. By adding silver to the formulation, the varioShore TPU is now also suitable for prosthetic and orthotic applications.


Besides, Lubrizol has also announced the commercial release of ESTANE 3D TPU M88A TPU.


This grade is exclusively designed and certified for HP’s Jet Fusion 5200 series, a 3D printing solution ideal for production applications. It is a flexible and highly durable material suited for production parts and the printing of complex geometries and lattice structures.


The new material is enabling much faster printing time, 45% less than the current Lubrizol TPU in the market.


ESTANE 3D M88A allows for softer TPU-based lattice designs that can be dyed – rather than coated – to provide a wide range of color choices, resulting in finished colors that are brighter versus other TPU parts.


In the meantime, Markforged, creator of the integrated metal and carbon fiber additive manufacturing platform, The Digital Forge, has delivered the addition of Smooth TPU 95A to its growing portfolio of materials.


The new, rubber-like material provides manufacturers with an efficient way to easily and reliably make high-quality, flexible parts on demand in low-to-medium volumes.


With the introduction of Smooth TPU 95A, Markforged now offers manufacturers the increased versatility to make customized, flexible parts with high geometric fidelity, which is critical in creating fine-feature details such as the ridges on high precision drive belts or cutouts for complex bushings.


Manufacturers now have a better way to make flexible parts additively for design validation, production line tooling, specialty production, aftermarket spares and replacement parts.


As said, the offering has uses in a variety of industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer products, electronics, energy, industrial equipment and more.



Elastollan TPU is used as a filament in the production of 3D printed shoe insoles. 

Furthermore, BASF has unveiled 3D printed orthopaedic insoles with its Elastollan TPU. The material is used as a filament by the duro3D paver in the production of individual shoe insoles using 3D printing processes.


In sole applications, the material is characterized above all by its excellent vibration damping and resilience. Under heavy use, e.g. when used in sports shoes, it is also the abrasion resistance that makes the sole durable and comfortable to wear. Even with fluctuating temperatures, the insert retains its desired properties.


A matching of the thermoplastic material to the challenges of discontinuous extrusion in 3D printing (FDM) makes it possible to map macrostructures of different densities in a sole.


Thus, soft sole areas with lower filling density can relieve and flow smoothly into another area, which rather firmly supports and stabilizes the foot with higher filling density.

Copyright:Original work. Please do not reprint.
3D prinitng Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

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