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Professional PEEK 3D printing (also ULTEM®, PEI and other high-performance materials)

In the past decade, PEEK 3D printing has been revolutionizing industrial manufacturing. Indeed, PEEK and other high-performance 3D printing materials are engineer-grade and provide great mechanical properties.

However, 3D printers capable of 3D printing PEEK and PEI (ULTEM®) materials are usually very expensive machines. Now, more and more manufacturers are looking into making PEEK and PEI 3D printing more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.

Note: ULTEM® is actually the only brand of PEI available on the market. It is manufactured by SABIC, a company based in Saudi Arabia.

PEEK 3D printers and PEI 3D printers for professionals

PEEK 3D printers and ULTEM® (PEI) 3D printers are suitable for industrial use, especially for aerospace ✈, medical ?, military ? and automotive ? sectors.

These are three main reasons:

  • High chemical properties: these materials provide great impact strength, tensile strength and high temperature resistance.
  • Cost-effectiveness: PEEK 3D printing is less expensive than traditional manufacturing techniques such as injection moulding.
  • Customization: PEEK 3D printers and PEI 3D printers adapt to users’ needs with on-demand 3D printing.

An aerospace part (air wing) 3D printed with Roboze's Carbon PEEK on the ARGO 500.

An aerospace part (air wing) 3D printed with Roboze’s Carbon PEEK on the ARGO 500.
Credit: Roboze

Want to learn more about the properties of high-performance materials or their industrial applications? Find a comprehensive overview in our full PEEK 3D printing article:

PEEK vs. ULTEM® ?

Both PEEK and ULTEM® (PEI) are exotic and high-performance materials. Their chemical properties make them stronger and more resistant than other thermoplastics.

Although they are very similar, they still feature several differences:

  • Price: ULTEM® is less expensive than PEEK.
  • Impact strength: PEI’s impact strength is lower than PEEK.
  • Tensile strength: PEI has lower tensile strength than PEEK.
  • Certifications: ULTEM® 3D printing filament has received aerospace certifications.
  • Temperature resistance: PEEK is more resistant to temperature changes than PEI.

Although they are increasingly popular, there is less choice for PEEK and PEI 3D printers than there is for regular PLA 3D printers. Indeed, PEEK 3D printer hardware needs to be of great quality, and there are various temperature constraints linked to 3D printing high-performance materials.

We include more specific information in our full article:

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