Jabil develops a high-strength AM filament

April 23, 2021
Customers' needs led the company to research and create its polyamide/polyketone alloy PA 0600 filament.

By Bruce Geiselman

As additive manufacturing technology increasingly shifts to production parts, new materials are being developed to meet customer demands.

Jabil Engineered Materials recently introduced a new filament with properties that meet the rigorous durability demands of aerospace, automotive and industrial manufacturing applications. Jabil PA 0600 delivers the high strength and stiffness typically associated with polyoxymethylene (POM) or acetal, according to Jabil.

“We’re building upon Jabil’s legacy in materials science to improve existing polymers or create new ones at the molecular level to benefit our customers,” said Matt Torosian, additive product management director at Jabil. “Our focus on innovation led to the discovery of our PA 0600 filament, which has a unique formulation with acetal plastic attributes but without potentially dangerous formaldehyde emissions associated with overheating.”

This new material was created, formulated and produced at the company’s Minnesota-based Materials Innovation Center.

The product introduction comes at a time when 3-D printing of production parts is growing.

Jabil, a worldwide manufacturing services company headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., recently released a report titled "3D Printing Technology Trends." In preparing the report, Jabil surveyed more than 300 individuals involved with 3-D printing and found that nearly 50 percent of the respondents expected their use of 3-D printing for production parts to double over the next three to five years.

Jabil’s PA 0600 filament is a polyamide/polyketone mix with high stiffness, good wear resistance, low friction and self-lubricating characteristics. It is suited for a variety of applications including the  production of gears, bearings and rollers, jigs, fixtures and tooling, according to the company.

Jabil, as a large contract manufacturer with more than 100 sites globally, developed PA 0600 for customers that could not find an existing polymer material to meet their needs.

“The reason we spent the R&D dollars to develop it is because we could look across our multiple sectors and understand that there was a need in the marketplace,” said Rush LaSelle, senior director and GM for additive manufacturing for Jabil. “One of the reasons we believe it hasn’t been produced by some of the big companies, chemical companies, is there’s not enough demand. But we can see it across our factories, and we understand the requirements for it, so we developed it. It was born out of a gap in the marketplace.”

While Jabil is using the newly developed filament in 3-D printers in its own factories, it also decided to sell it to third parties through two websites. The Jabil PA 0600 filament is available through the Ultimaker Marketplace and DigiKey.

It prints on open platforms, including the Ultimaker S5, Ultimaker 3, Raise3D, Method X and Taz Pro platforms.

Jabil has sites in 30 countries and 260,000 employees worldwide. Its services include 3-D printing.

Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter

[email protected]

Jabil Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., 727-577-9749, www.jabil.com

About the Author

Bruce Geiselman | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Bruce Geiselman covers extrusion, blow molding, additive manufacturing, automation and end markets including automotive and packaging. He also writes features, including In Other Words and Problem Solved, for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He has extensive experience in daily and magazine journalism.