(Rhodia) -- Rhodia is announcing the upcoming launch of polyamide (PA) powders for rapid prototyping and small series manufacturing by selective laser sintering (SLS). This is the first time that PA 6 powders are offered for direct part fabrication by SLS. The range will be extended to include PA 66 powders in the coming months.
Using SLS, designers and processors can produce complete families of fully functional prototype parts, each with different dimensions, one after the other, before they cut any metal for tooling. Once the design is validated, they can even use SLS for limited series commercial production.
Cutting-edge industries such as aerospace, automobile racing, robotics or medical prosthesis manufacturers have already adopted direct manufacturing technologies that aim to produce in a fraction of time customized design parts with properties similar to those made by traditional technologies.
Until now, growth of so-called ⌠time compression technologies beyond these sectors has been limited, partly because the choice of materials available for SLS is much more limited than it is for conventional molding. With the introduction of PA 6 powders, the same polyamides can be used for prototyping and for injection molding.