MATERIALS: PP Powder for Laser-Sintered Robot Grippers

Light weight, toughness, and lack of water absorption are advantages.

A sign of the growing interest in additive manufacturing (3D printing) for making robot grippers is the development of a polypropylene powder specifically for that purpose. New Luvosint 65-8824 comes from Germany’s Lehmann & Voss & Co., which has a U.S. branch (Lehvoss North America) in Pawcatuck, Conn. It was developed in collaboration with LMD Innovation, a German producer of robot grippers, which has used 3D printing to make them for a decade. It also uses Lehmann & Voss’s Luvosint X92A-1 TPU powder for laser sintering of flexible parts. The accompanying photo shows a gripper from LMD that uses both materials.

According to L&V, PP offers several advantages over nylon 12 for laser sintering robot grippers: It offers a 10% weight saving; its high impact strength allows designing space-saving pneumatic actuators into the grippers; and it does not absorb moisture, so it does not become brittle under exposure to dry compressed air. PP also offers high chemical resistance.

For more on 3D-printed robot grippers, see Dec. '15 Starting Up and Aug. ’14 Close Up.