3D Printing Polymer Parts with Electrostatic Dissipative (ESD) Properties

Getting zapped by static electricity at the personal level is merely annoying; having your sensitive electronic equipment buzzed is another, highly destructive story.

Much as you’d like to send these components out into the world wearing their own little anti-static wristbands, that’s just not practical (and actually, not good enough*). During build and use, advanced electronics applications need true charge-dissipative protection that is inherent to their design and easy to achieve. However, the typical steps of painting or coating, covering with conductive tape, or wrapping with carbon-filled/aluminum-coated films incur both time and cost.

Electrostatic dissipative (ESD) polymer materials instead provide this kind of protection on a built-in basis, offering a moderately conductive “exit path” that naturally dissipates the charge build-up that can occur during normal operations. It also prevents powders, dust or fine particles from sticking to the surface. Whether the task is protecting circuit boards during transport and testing, or ensuring that the final product works as designed throughout its lifetime, ESD materials present low electrical resistance while offering the required mechanical, and often thermal and/or chemically-resistant properties.

ESD-safe fixture for testing a printed-circuit board, produced by 3D printing with Stratasys ABS-ESD7 material. (Image courtesy of Stratasys)

Combining ESD Behavior with 3D Printing

All the features that are appealing with 3D printing carry over when printing with ESD-enabled thermoplastics. You can print trays custom-configured to hold circuit-boards for in-process testing, print conformal fixtures that speed up sorting, and produce end-use structures for projects where static build-up is simply not allowed (think mission-critical aerospace applications).

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), that work-horse of the plastics industry, has been available as 3D printing filament for decades. Along the way, Stratasys and other vendors started offering this filament in a version filled with carbon particles that decrease the plastic’s inherent electrical resistance. Stratasys ABS-ESD7 runs on the Fortus 380, 400, 450 and 900 industrial systems, and soon will be available on the office-friendly F370 printer.

What kind of performance does ABS-ESD7 offer? When evaluating materials for ESD performance, the most important property is usually the surface resistance, measured in ohms. (This is not the same as surface resistivity, plus there’s also volume resistivity – see Note at end). Conductive materials – typically metals – have a surface resistance generally less than 103 ohms, insulators such as most plastics are rated at greater than 1012 ohms, and ESD materials fall in the mid-range, at 106 to 109 ohms.

Compared to standard ABS filament, ABS-ESD7 offers more than five orders of magnitude lower resistance, converting it from an insulator to a material that provides an effective static-discharge path to the outside world. Due to the inherent layered structure of FDM parts, the differences in properties between flat (XY) and vertical (ZX) build orientations produces a range of resistance values, with a target of 107 ohms, reflected in the product name of ABS-ESD7. Stratasys offers an excellent, easy-to-read FAQ paper about ABS-ESD7.

Printed-circuit board production tool, custom 3D-printed in Stratasys ABS-ESD7 material for built-in protection from electrostatic discharge during test and handling. (Image courtesy of Stratasys)

When ABS isn’t strong enough or won’t hold up to temperature extremes, engineers can turn to Stratasys’ ESD-enhanced polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), termed Antero 840CN03. Developed in 2016 and slated for full release in October 2019, this new filament expands the company’s Antero line of  high-temperature, chemically resistant formulations. The PEKK base material offers a high glass transition temperature (Tg 149C, compared to 108C for ABS-ESD7) while meeting stringent outgassing and cleanroom requirements. As with ABS-ESD7, the carbon-nanotube loading lowers electrical resistance values of Antero 840CN03 parts to the desirable “ESD safe” range of 106 to 109 ohm.

Setting up Parts for Printing with ESD-Enhanced Filament                                                            

Support structures in contact with part walls/surfaces can disturb the surface resistance behavior. To counter-act this condition for filament printing with any type of ESD material, users should perform a special calibration that makes the printer lay down slightly thinner-than-usual layers of support material. In Stratasys Insight software, this is currently accomplished by setting the Support Offset Thickness to -0.003; this decreases the support layers from 0.010 inches to 0.007 inches. In addition, supports should be removed (in Insight software) from holes that are smaller in diameter than 0.25 inches (6.35mm).

As more of these materials are developed, the software will be updated to automatically create supports with this process in mind.

ESD Applications for 3D Printing

Avionics boxes, fixtures for holding and transporting circuit boards, storage containers for fuel, and production-line conveyor systems are just a few examples of end-use applications of ESD-enabled materials. Coupled with the geometric freedom offered by 3D printing, three categories of manufacturing and operations are improved:

  • Protecting electronics from ESD damage (static shock)
  • Preventing fire/explosion (static spark)
  • Preserving equipment/product performance (static cling)

If you’re exploring how 3D printing with ESD-enhanced materials can help with your industrial challenge, contact our PADT Manufacturing group: get your questions answered, have some sample parts printed, and discover what filament is right for you.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing products and services. For more information on Insight, GrabCAD and Stratasys products, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

*Anti-static is a qualitative term and refers to something that prevents build-up of static, rather than dissipating what does occur


Surface Resistance, Surface Resistivity and Volume Resistivity

Surface resistance in ohms is a measurement to evaluate static-dissipative packaging materials.

Surface resistivity in ohms/square is used to evaluate insulative materials where high resistance characteristics are desirable. (Ref. https://www.evaluationengineering.com/home/article/13000514/the-difference-between-surface-resistance-and-surface-resistivity)

The standard for measuring surface resistance of ESD materials is EOS/ESD S11.11, released in 1993 by the ESD Association as an improvement over ASTM D-257 (the classic standard for evaluating insulators). Driving this need was the non-homogeneous structure of ESD materials (conductive material added to plastic), which had a different effect on testing parameters such as voltage or humidity,  than found with evaluating conductors.

Volume resistivity is yet a third possible measured electrical property, though again better suited for true conductors rather than ESD material. It depends on the area of the ohmeter’s electrodes and the thickness of the material sample. Units are ohm-cm or ohm-m.

             

Introducing Additive to Automation with End-of-Arm Tooling – Case Study

In the factory of the future automation is king.

Manufacturers can drastically reduce lead times, reduce labor costs, and increase overall efficiency through the use of robotics at several stages in their workflow, each performing a different function. While each function serves a unique purpose specific to the task it will execute, they all utilize an essential component known as End-of-Arm tooling (EOAT).

Traditionally, companies that produce EOAT have used extruded aluminum, or machined aluminum frames, often making them heavy and cumbersome. One manufacturer however, has found a solution to reduce weight without sacrificing strength or durability, using 3D printing.

Download the case study to learn more about additive manufacturing’s place on the factory floor, and how you can use it to eliminate the need for heavy and overly complex parts.

Create parts that are 50% lighter, and designed based on your needs, not limited by your manufacturing process.

Download Here

Explore the Latest Advancements in Design Engineering with ANSYS 19.2 – Webinar

Don’t miss this informative presentation – Secure your spot today!

If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

Press Release: New Digital Manufacturing Facility for On-Demand Delivery of Production Quality Parts Opened at PADT

PADT is very proud to announce that our new manufacturing facility that uses 3D Printing technology to make production parts in volume, is open for business.  When we bought our first Additive Manufacturing machine in 1994 we dreamed of the day when we could have several machines quickly making complete plastic parts in one step. Carbon’s Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS) was the technology we were waiting for. It is here now, and we are now making real parts with injection molded quality.

We chose to leverage Carbon’s technology because of the three key differentiators in their system:

  1. Digital light projection is much faster than a laser or print head.
  2. Oxygen permeable optics enables accurate project while keeping the part from sticking to the optics.
  3. Programmable liquid resins produce parts with excellent mechanical properties, resolution and surface finish.

What every engineer wants: fast, strong, and accurate.  And because it is Additive Manufacturing, no tooling is required and shapes that can be created that are impossible to manufacture with traditional methods.  This is the promise of 3D Printing for production, and we can’t wait to see what our customers do with it.

Please read the press release below for more details on the opening of our facility.

You can also find more information here:

Please find the official press release on this new partnership below and here in PDF and HTML

Now is the time to explore production using Additive Manufacturing.  If you have plastic parts that you want to manufacture using 3D Printing, contact Renee Palacios at renee@padtinc.com or 480.813.4884.

Press Release:

New Digital Manufacturing Facility for On-Demand Delivery
of Production Quality Parts Opened at PADT

A Carbon Certified Production Partner, PADT Enables Customers to Make Cost-Effective Parts Quickly with Near-Injection Molded Material Properties

TEMPE, Ariz., June 21, 2018 ─ Realizing the long-term promise of 3D Printing to replace traditional manufacturing as a way to make production parts, Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies (PADT) today announced the launch of On-Demand Manufacturing with Carbon. As a certified Production Partner of Silicon Valley-based Carbon, PADT can now deliver to its customers cost-effective, quality parts in volumes of between 2,000–5,000 in about one week, using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesisä (DLS) technology and the Carbon production system.

“Since we started in 3D Printing almost 25 years ago, we have dreamed of the day that we could use additive manufacturing to move beyond prototyping and deliver production parts to our customers when they need them, the way they need them,” said Rey Chu, co-founder and principal, PADT. “Carbon’s DLS technology has made this possible by giving us a faster process that creates parts with the same properties as injection molding.”

Core to On-Demand Manufacturing with Carbon is Carbon’s proprietary DLS technology, which changes the way companies design, engineer, make and deliver products. Carbon’s novel approach uses digital light projection, oxygen permeable optics, and programmable liquid resins to produce parts with excellent mechanical properties, resolution and surface finish. A significant advantage of using the approach is that no tooling is required. High-quality parts are produced without the time or expense of creating molds, and shapes that cannot be made with injection molding can be created using Carbon’s DLS technology.

“Our goal is to deliver true, scalable digital fabrication across the globe, enabling creators to design and produce previously unmakeable products, both economically and at scale,” said Dana McCallum, head of Production Partnerships at Carbon. “PADT has a long history in the industry and a strong reputation for engineering excellence. We’re thrilled to have them as a certified Carbon production partner.”

PADT’s on-demand manufacturing is backed up by in-house product development, inspection, simulation and injecting molding expertise. All parts are produced under its quality system, and its in-house Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machining lets the company complete any critical feature creation on-site with no delays.

PADT’s Digital Manufacturing Facility, the Southwest’s first true “3D Printing factory,” is now open to customers. For more information about On-Demand Manufacturing with Carbon, please visit PADT’s site here or call 1-800-293-PADT. For more information about Carbon, visit www.carbon3d.com.

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

# # #

Media Contact
Alec Robertson
TechTHiNQ on behalf of PADT
585-281-6399
alec.robertson@techthinq.com
PADT Contact
Eric Miller
PADT, Inc.
Principal & Co-Owner
480.813.4884
eric.miller@padtinc.com

 

Getting to Know PADT: Manufacturing Consulting

This post is the tenth installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.

When you think about manufacturing and PADT, you will most often think of Additive Manufacturing, or more generally 3D Printing. Although this new and exciting area of technology is the foundation of our Advanced Manufacturing department, it is only one part of what we offer. As discussed in the opening piece in this series, our manufacturing team also offers part scanning and reverse engineering services.  What many people do not know is that our experts, often working with our product development team, also offer consulting services for all kinds of manufacturing.

When it comes to getting parts made, a company needs to find the right manufacturing methods, the proper processes, the right vendor, and the right manufacturing plan to get their parts made correctly and cost-effectively.  This is true if they manufacture and assemble in-house, if they outsource the entire process, or if they do a combination of building, buying, and assembling.  PADT is a valuable resource that can help investigate options, provide advice on next steps, and even serve as a liaison between our customers and their suppliers and vendors. Whatever the product, whatever the manufacturing technology, and wherever the facility, PADT can help.

Here are some typical examples of what we have done for customers.  If you do not see what you need, no worries, contact us anyway and we can figure it out.  Simply put, if you need help getting stuff made, we are here to help.

Finding Manufacturing Solutions

Getting products made can be hard. And pressures in most segments for greater performance in less volume for less cost are making manufacturing challenges more difficult every year. Many times traditional methods and processes that have worked in the past just can not get the job done.  That is where PADT comes in to look at your needs with fresh eyes backed with a wealth of knowledge about different manufacturing solutions.  Sometimes we help change the design and sometimes we change the process, and often we work with our customer to do both so that they can get their parts made.

Vendor Identification and Management

Many customers come to us with a simple request: Find someone that can make this and help us get it made. They may not have the staff with the proper experience needed to find, qualify, and manage vendors.  Or those people may simply be too busy.  PADT’s network of proven vendors combined with our project management expertise makes for a simple and single point solution for customers large and small.  From supply chain, through inspection, to shipment, our team can take on the tasks you need to be done to make sure your products show up ready and to specification where and when they need to be there.

Injection Molding Consulting

The most common type of consulting that we conduct for customers is helping them with injection molding.  If they need a straightforward part with no technical challenges, then there are literally thousands of vendors that can do that job. But if the plastic parts they need have challenges, if normal injection molding suppliers have look at the parts and scratched their heads, that is when PADT can step in and solve problems.  We can use our knowledge of plastic part design, our large network of expert injection molders, and proven problem-solving skills to find a way to get those difficult parts made in a timely and affordable manner.

Developing New Technologies

Sometimes, there just is not an existing way to get something made.  There may be technologies that get close, but nothing that already exists in the right combination.  That is when PADT’s advanced manufacturing, simulation, and design skills can all come together to develop new technologies and processes to enable true innovation.  From new material combinations to novel post-processing approaches, our team can bring in other experts and suppliers to find ways to push out beyond the leading edge of advanced manufacturing.

We Make Innovation Work

No part of bringing products to market stresses the importance of making innovation work more than manufacturing. This is where all of the ideas and solutions come together to create a physical product. Every product is unique, and every product has unique manufacturing problems. That is why PADT’s Manufacturing Consulting is called on by customers across industries to solve problems and find solutions.  And that is why if you are facing manufacturing challenges, you should call on PADT to help you.

All Things ANSYS 013 – Lessons in simulation learned from Anaheim’s Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show

 

Published on: February 12, 2018
With: Joe Woodword, Tom Chadwick, Ted Harris, Eric Miller
Description: In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Joe Woodword, Tom Chadwick, and Ted Harris, for a discussion on what they learned about the world of simulation by attending this year’s Pacific Design & Manufacturing show, North America’s largest Advanced Design and Manufacturing event. This talk includes tips for a variety of ANSYS tools, along with some general “how-to” points regarding overall process that will help to ensure your simulation runs smoothly.
Listen:
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PADT’s 2018 AZ SciTech Festival Open House

Scientifically fun for the whole family
February 22nd, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM MST
Once again, PADT Inc. is proud to partner with AZ SCITECH to promote and celebrate Arizona’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs!

As part of this event, we will be hosting an open house that will give you an inside look at what our engineers do all day, as well as a first hand display of the capabilities of innovative technology such as 3D Printing and Simulation.

This is a family friendly event, so don’t hesitate to bring the kids along.

Come see how we make innovation work!

Join us at 7755 S. Research Drive, Tempe AZ, 85284 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Food and drinks will be provided.

 
This event will be divided up into three main areas:

Come and see what additive manufacturing is capable of. Learn how 3D Printing continues to revolutionize the industry, and brings ideas to life, from concept to a functional part!

PADT prides ourselves in being on the forefront of innovation. Visit the Manufacturing Lab to learn about the latest cutting-edge technology that PADT has invested in, including 3D Scanning, Metal Printing from Concept Laser, and on-demand manufacturing from Carbon. 

Walk from booth to booth and check out a plethora of fun and exciting projects that our engineers here at PADT have been working on, Each showing the unique ways that PADT makes innovation work!

Discover the advantages of on-demand Manufacturing with Carbon – Interview pt. 1

The long-term promise of 3D Printing has always been using the technology to replace traditional manufacturing as a way to make production parts.

Carbon is turning the 3D printing world upside down by introducing real production capabilities with their systems, and now that PADT has joined Carbon’s Production Partner Program, on-demand manufacturing using 3D Printing is now a reality in the Southwestern US.

Check out part one of our three part interview series with Carbon’s Production Engineer, Johnathon Wright and PADT’s Additive Manufacturing Solutions Account Manager Renee Palacios, as they answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Carbon’s manufacturing capabilities, and explore what benefits PADT can provide as a Carbon Production Partner.

Keep an eye our for part 2, coming soon.

You can also view a recording of our recent webinar covering Carbon here: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/293721

Ready to start a conversation on what Carbon can do for your company?

Click the link and fill out the form to get in touch with a PADT representative and further discuss this opportunity.

Exploring On-Demand Manufacturing with Carbon 3D – Webinar

Join Carbon’s Production Engineer, Johnathon Wright and PADT’s Additive Manufacturing Solutions Account Manager Renee Palacios for a discussion on the various capabilities and applications of Carbon 3D’s exciting new technology.

Attend this free webinar in order to learn about:

  • What PADT’s capabilities are as a production partner
  • How using Carbon is cheaper and faster than other methods
  • Carbon’s unique end product material properties
  • And so much more!
Don’t miss this informative presentation – Secure your spot today!



If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).

You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!

Work for a startup or know someone who does? – Don’t miss this opportunity!

We here at PADT would like to remind you that our webinar covering the significance of simulation for startups is taking place soon!

Join us: Wednesday January 25, 2017

From 12 pm – 1 pm MST

PADT’s Co-owner and Principal, Eric Miller, will be presenting on the various benefits that simulation software can provide for startup companies and entrepreneurs alike. By attending this webinar you will learn:

  • The practical uses of simulation in product design
  • How simulation has driven innovation
  • Why simulation is the most effective tool for startups
  • How simulation can reduce time to market as well as production costs
  • And how you can take advantage of the discounts that the ANSYS Startup Program provides

While many startups tend to avoid using simulation due to cost or a lack of accessibility, this is a key aspect of the modern manufacturing process and should not be ignored.

As a partner in the Startup Program, you will gain instant access to ANSYS solutions so you can start building virtual prototypes of your new products. These virtual prototypes can be modified and tested with simulation hundreds of times in the same time it would take to build and test one physical prototype – saving you time and money as you work to perfect your product design. The partnership gives you access to the full portfolio of multiphysics simulation bundles, including the Structural and Fluids bundle and the Electromagnetics bundle.

Take advantage of this opportunity and register today!

Phoenix Business Journal: Manufacturing Month in Arizona – Looking Strong

Just-Published-PBJ-1October is not just the long awaited end of high temperatures in Arizona, it is also Manufacturing Month. As we start to have lunch outside again, it is a good time for those of us involved in making stuff to reflect on our recent successes and on what we can do to make things even better. Find some interesting statistics and suggestions on next steps in “Manufacturing Month in Arizona – Looking Strong

Phoenix Business Journal: ​Getting your product made: 6 suggestions for outsourcing the manufacturing of your product

Just-Published-PBJ-1Getting a new product manufactured is one of those critical steps that new companies often assume is just a matter of finding a vendor and outsourcing it. In “Getting your product made: 6 suggestions for outsourcing the manufacturing of your product” I go over some suggestions on how to make this critical step a success.

Phoenix Business Journal: The next revolution in manufacturing is full automation

pbj-phoenix-business-journal-logoManufacturing is about to go through a major revolution, one that will have impact around the world. A new generation of automation will be changing the way things are made. In “The next revolution in manufacturing is full automation” I take a look at what it all means.

AZ Manufacturing Month Closing Party – People Mixing with Lasers, 3D Printers, Robots, and Beer

logo_revazLast Thursday (10/30/2014) PADT was honored to host the closing event for this years “Arizona Manufacturing Month”  The event was well attended with almost 300 people stopping for networking, food, beer, and some examples of the future of Manufacturing in the state.

The event was sponsored by:

A big draw for the evening was the “Future of Manufacturing” Exhibit where local firms showed off what they were doing. Exhibitors included:

Food was provided by Teakwoods Tavern and Grill (the barbecue beef went fast!) and samples of beer were provided by Arizona Manufacturer, Four Peaks Brewing. 

In addition to all of the companies and customers who attended, we were pleased to have a great group of High School Robotics teams that showed up to share their robots with us and take part in a brief awards ceremony for PADT’s “2014 FIRST Robotics Grant” competition. Read more about that here.

All and all a great event and our staff wants to thank everyone for making it an enjoyable and value added gathering.  We hope to see more of you here next year as momentum grows and more and more people learn about the Revolution in Manufacturing that is taking place in Arizona. 

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Here are some snapshots from the event: