Lubrizol TPU powder passes ISO tests for skin contact

Lubrizol, an Ohio-based chemicals and materials company, has announced that its ESTANE 3D TPU M95A powder for 3D printing has passed skin sensitization and cytotoxicity tests in accordance with ISO 10993-5 and 10993-10.

The successful tests means that the material, designed for use with HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology, can now be used by product designers who are leveraging 3D printing for end-use applications that require skin contact, according to the firm. As such, Lubrizol claims it will benefit applications in footwear, prosthetic and orthotic devices, and wearables for electronic devices.

Part 3D printed with ESTANE® 3D TPU M95A powder. Photo via Lubrizol.
Part 3D printed with ESTANE® 3D TPU M95A powder. Photo via Lubrizol.

Lubrizol 3D printing materials

Initially founded in 1928 as a graphite oil products company, Lubrizol has since grown to become a provider of specialty chemicals for the transportation, industrial and consumer markets. The company operates manufacturing facilities in 17 countries, as well as sales and technical offices around the world, with approximately 8,700 employees worldwide.

Lubrizol’s products include additives for a range of purposes including engine oils and other transportation-related fluids; industrial lubricants; and gasoline and diesel fuel. 

In addition, Lubrizol makes ingredients and additives for personal care products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, specialty materials, including plastics technology, and coatings in the form of specialty resins and additives.

In 3D printing, the company has been a member of HP’s Open Materials Platform since 2017. This deal gives Lubrizol access to HP’s Open Materials and Applications Lab and its research tools to develop materials under the HP brand. 

In 2018 the company also announced its first three products for the additive manufacturing market, under its ESTANE imprint. The line consisted of the Estane ETE (Easy-to-extrude) TPU, Estane 58000 TPU, and the Estane MVT (Moisture Vapor Transmission) TPU, which are soft, flexible to hard, and rigid grades of 3D printable materials. That same year the firm also launched new polymer-based 3D printing material solutions for the footwear market, Estane TRX TPU and BounCell-X. 

Additionally, at the most recent Formnext exhibition in 2019, Lubrizol also announced a partnership with Chinese 3D printer manufacturer Farsoon Technologies to broaden the reach of its TPU-powders

TPU Powder for HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solutions. Photo via Lubrizol.
TPU Powder for HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solutions. Photo via Lubrizol.

Development of the ESTANE 3D TPU M95A powder

As well as skin contact suitability, further attributes of Lubrizol’s ESTANE 3D TPU M95A powder includes flexibility, durability, impact and chemical resistance, and energy rebound. The material was made commercially available earlier this year. It was developed in close collaboration with HP, and as such, it has been certified for use on HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 4200 series 3D printers

The material’s development was also supported by an extensive beta testing program conducted by ZiggZagg, a Belgian 3D printing service provider and member of HP’s Digital Manufacturing Network. ZiggZagg and Lubrizol worked together to explore different applications for ESTANE 3D TPU M95A powder

David Pascual, Lubrizol’s global commercial 3D Printing lead, comments, “After first developing a new innovative powder TPU for use with the market leading HP 3D printing platform, it is a great step forward for this material to pass this skin sensitivity testing protocol.”

“This will benefit product designers who are developing applications that require skin contact including personal protection devices so urgently needed right now to protect responders and caregivers fighting the COVID-19 battle. TPU’s versatility, durability and barrier properties bring value in these vital applications.”

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Featured image shows part 3D printed with ESTANE® 3D TPU M95A powder. Photo via Lubrizol.



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