Case study

Meeting both railway and FAR norms with low smoke filament

Our low smoke filament PA6/66-GF20 FR LS for 3D printing is one of the few FFF materials that meets both the EN 45545-2 and NFPA 130 norms for smoke and toxicity in railway and aviation. Printable on standard FFF equipment, it is a more accessible option than other high-temperature alternatives.
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Low smoke, low toxicity flame retardant materials for transportation

To allow safe and quick evacuation in case of fire, operators demand that materials used in railway vehicle components ensure a highly controlled flame spread along with low smoke density and low toxic fume emissions. The legal requirements for fire, smoke and toxicity (FST) behavior vary by region and country, which means that for a material to be cost-effective, it has to meet the most stringent of multiple criteria.
Our task here was to support the rail industry with a flame retardant material for rolling stock components that meets varied FST requirements while also being suited for use in additive manufacturing.

Flame retardant 3D-printable FFF material that is low smoke and low toxicity

Small volumes and spare parts for high-performance rail vehicle components are increasingly 3D printed using fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology. 
Our challenge here was to engineer a 3D-printable FFF material with low smoke generation and low toxicity. Non-halogenated flame retardants typically create a lot of smoke, so the optimal composition was required to meet the wide range of relevant regulations.  
Commercial alternatives are often engineered for very extreme environments, making them costly solutions that require high temperature, high performance printers. Contrary to those alternatives, , our low smoke filament can be printed on standard filament printers which makes it a lot more accessible.

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Low smoke filament meets railway and FAR norms

PA6/66-GF20 FR LS is one of the few filaments that meets norms EN 45545-2, NFPA 130 (ASTM E162, ASTM E662), SMP 800-C and FAR 25.853. Its certifications for flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) make it suitable for railway and other transportation applications.
The low smoke filament is a cost-efficient and easier-to-print solution for applications that need to meet railway and FAR norms without the need for specialized high-heat equipment.. Our solution can be printed easily on standard filament printers, eliminating the need for high temperature, high-performance printers.
While the patented formulation uses a more environmentally friendly non-halogenated flame retardant, the composition has been optimized to avoid the typical smoke development and achieve the low smoke requirements of the EN and FAR standards.
The glass-filled material allows for superior thermal performance at elevated heat deflection temperatures.
The low smoke filament PA6/66-GF20 FR LS combines certified flame retardancy with cost-effective and flexible processing. This makes it a smart solution for electrical parts from connectors and enclosures to outlet cases. After printing on standard FFF machinery, the material can be post-processed and painted, making it suitable for visible components from paper towel holders to cup-holders, reading lights and other in-train applications. Our LS filament is a good choice for tough and durable flame-resistant parts for the railroad and transportation sectors.

This low smoke filament offers a valid alternative for applications requiring both EN 45545-2 and NFPA 130 norms. It’s a popular material in the market as it’s a very cost-effective solution that can be printed easily on standard, open platform printers and doesn’t require high- temperature printers.

Nirali Surati

Product Manager Solids,Covestro

Key Benefits

  • Low smoke & toxicity: LS filament is one of a few FFF materials to meet EN 45545-2 and NFPA 130 norms.
  • Flame retardant: Non-halogenated recipe without the typical smoke development.
  • Cost-effective FFF: Less expensive material that can be 3D printed on a standard FFF printer.
  • Post-processing PA6/66-GF20 FR LS can be post-processed and painted for visible transportation parts.
  • Less degradation: Mechanical properties last longer due to lower thermo-oxidative degradation.

With our LS filament, you can 3D print low smoke and low toxicity components for transportation use.

LS filament for flame retardant parts

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