3D Systems today announced its collaboration with TE Connectivity, a world leader in connectors and sensors, to jointly develop an additive manufacturing solution to produce electrical connectors meeting stringent UL regulatory requirements. The solution comprising 3D Systems’ Figure 4® Modular, Figure 4 material, 3D Sprint® software, and services was designed to meet TE Connectivity’s unique requirements for material performance and high tolerance, reliable printing. The foundation of the solution is a newly developed photopolymer 3D Systems engineered specifically to meet TE Connectivity’s requirements. In addition to a world-class flammability rating at 0.4mm thickness, it is the first known printable photopolymer to complete a UL®1-recognized long-term thermal aging (RTI) study. This material combined with an optimized print process enables the necessary reliability and accuracy required for TE Connectivity’s products. Using 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology, the combination of new material properties, speed, and accuracy allows the production of rugged industrial products for the first time, targeted at appliances, cellular and data-center applications. Additive manufacturing provides TE Connectivity freedom of design to create complex geometries that would be difficult to create using injection molding. It increases flexibility for low volume, quick turn production runs, and tooling avoidance, allowing TE to quickly demonstrate its capabilities and its customers to more efficiently meet demand.
3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) collaborated with TE Connectivity’s team to develop a full production workflow from design to a finished connector. The program included the development and UL certification of a new Figure 4 material. UL regulatory approval has been obtained, including UL94 V0 flame rating at 0.4mm, Glow Wire Ignition (GWI) of 800°C, Comparative Tracking Index (CTI) of 600V (equivalent to a PLC of 0), and Relative Temperature Index (RTI) for long-term electrical and mechanical use of 150C and 130C, respectively.
“As 3D printing technology evolves, we’re seeing more opportunities for using it to manufacture products for customers who need a low volume of parts in a short timeframe,” said Philip Gilchrist, VP and segment chief technology officer for Communications Solutions at TE Connectivity. “Our work with 3D Systems enables us to provide our customers with functional parts in just weeks instead of months.”
“Customer-centric innovation is at the core of everything we do,” said Reji Puthenveetil, executive vice president, industrial solutions, 3D Systems. “The collaboration with TE Connectivity provided the understanding and requirements of the unique application being addressed and enabled the development of the solution. Our materials scientists and print process experts worked very closely with the TE team to formulate a material that, when used in conjunction with our Figure 4 technology, delivered on the high quality, high-reliability standards their customers have come to expect. This is yet another example of how 3D Systems is partnering with industry leaders to accelerate innovation and build competitive advantage through additive manufacturing solutions.”
About 3D Systems
More than 35 years ago, 3D Systems brought the innovation of 3D printing to the manufacturing industry. Today, as the leading additive manufacturing solutions partner, we bring innovation, performance, and reliability to every interaction - empowering our customers to create products and business models never before possible. Thanks to our unique offering of hardware, software, materials, and services, each application-specific solution is powered by the expertise of our application engineers who collaborate with customers to transform how they deliver their products and services. 3D Systems’ solutions address a variety of advanced applications in healthcare and industrial markets such as medical and dental, aerospace & defense, automotive, and durable goods.
About TE Connectivity
TE Connectivity is a global industrial technology leader creating a safer, sustainable, productive and connected future. Our broad range of connectivity and sensor solutions, proven in the harshest environments, enable advancements in transportation, industrial applications, medical technology, energy, data communications and the home. With more than 85,000 employees, including over 8,000 engineers, working alongside customers in approximately 140 countries, TE ensures that EVERY CONNECTION COUNTS.