PVA material breaking in the Material Station

On some occasions, loading Ultimaker PVA from the Material Station into the Ultimaker S5 can result in problems; the PVA filament can break in the system. Ultimaker has investigated these reports and initiated several changes.

This page explains the improvements to the Ultimaker S5 Material Station and Pro Bundle that have been implemented since these products were released. If you have problems with PVA material breaking in the system, read the tips here or submit a ticket to contact support.

What has changed?

The material breakage was not simply a hardware or a materials problem. We investigated the possibilities of reducing stress on the filament in the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle to decrease the chance of this issue occurring. This was approached from different angles and we have made improvements throughout the Ultimaker ecosystem.

  • Materials. Ultimaker PVA has been revised with an enhanced annealing and improved winding procedure, resulting in less brittle filament.

  • Firmware. Since firmware version 5.8, the PVA filament will stay parked above the print head for up to 60 hours after the print is finished. This decreases the loading and unloading frequency.

  • Hardware. We have changed the knurled wheel inside the feeder to a finer pattern, designed to reduce the stress on the filament.

Why are these changes implemented?

We have found that with some materials, such as Ultimaker PVA, the indentation marks on the filament, in combination with the extra bends that the filament has to make in the Material Station, can cause the filament to break.

These broken pieces of PVA filament can get stuck in the system. This would prevent material from loading correctly for new print jobs and can lead to several error messages. Removing the broken pieces requires manual interaction from the user, meaning downtime of the Pro Bundle.

The improved PVA material quality, new firmware unloading flow, and hardware design change increase the overall reliability of the Pro Bundle and Material Station. 

How can I get the new feeder version?

All Ultimaker S5 printers with a serial number starting with BPP-030368 and higher already have the fine knurl feeders installed. If you experience issues with PVA on your Pro Bundle, and the serial number of your Ultimaker S5 is lower than BPP-030368, please submit a support ticket to enquire about the Fine knurl feeder kit. You can be helped faster if you provide the following information when submitting the ticket:

  • Serial number of your Ultimaker S5
  • Serial number of your Material Station

The new feeders are easy to install. Complete step-by-step instructions are found on this page.

Note: The Fine knurl feeder kits are made available for all Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle users who frequently use Ultimaker PVA. The different feeders do not affect (neither positively nor negatively) the printing process of a standalone Ultimaker S5 or with other material types.

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