BASF announces new partnerships and AM materials at Formnext 2018
BASF 3D Printing Solutions (B3DPS), the subsidiary of German chemical company BASF, is preparing to unveil a range of new AM-related products, including new photopolymer and laser sintering materials, at Formnext 2018 in Frankfurt. The company is also marking the AM industry event with the announcement of several new partnerships, including Origin, Photocentric and Xunshi Technology.
New alliances for new technologies
To begin, let’s look at the new partnerships B3DPS has entered into and what their significance will be for the additive manufacturing industry.
Working together with Origin, a San Francisco-based 3D printing company, BASF aims to advance the development of photopolymer printing processes. The companies will combine their respective expertise in materials and 3D printing technologies to create a more sophisticated photopolymer AM system. At this stage in the partnership, Origin has already developed a new 3D printing method optimized for BASF’s new Ultracur3D photopolymers which offers high mechanical stability and material throughout and good surface finish qualities.
Volker Hammes, Managing Director of B3DPS, commented: “Within the framework of an open business model, we are combining BASF’s material know-how with Origin’s expertise in printer software programming and the manufacturing of the corresponding hardware.”
The second partnership announced by the materials company is with another 3D printing company, Photocentric. Together, they will develop new photopolymers and large-format photopolymer 3D printers for the mass production of functional components. Photocentric, which has operations in the UK and U.S., specializes in the use of LCD screens as image generators in its 3D printers.
B3DPS is also collaborating with Chinese 3D printer manufacturer Xunshi Technology—in the U.S. it is known by the same Sprintray. Through this alliance, the companies aim to create new fields of applications for B3DPS’s Ultracut3D material range.
Distribution network collaborations
In addition to the three new partnerships mentioned above, B3DPS has also announced a significant expansion of its distribution network. For instance, Innofil3D, a subsidiary of B3DPS, is partnering with Tjanjin-based Jet-Mate Technology for the distribution of plastic filaments in China as well as with M. Holland for the distribution of filaments in the U.S.
“Since the USA is the largest market for filaments, we intend to strengthen our activities there,” commented Jeroen Wiggers, Business Director 3DP Solution for Additive Extrusion at B3DPS. “Asia is another important market for us. We will be developing further distribution channels there and putting our Ultrafuse filaments on the Asian market in 2019.”
For the SLS market, B3DPS has introduced a new flame-resistant Ultrasint Polyamide PA6 Black FR material, which conforms to UL94 V2 fire protection standards. The material, which boasts high stiffness and good thermal stability, has already been used to manufacture new components for vehicles that meet vehicle fire protection requirements. This project was undertaken in collaboration with an unnamed “leader of public transportation vehicles.”
“Together with our partner, we are currently producing prototypes, spare parts and small series components, and are working to further improve flame resistance to meet additional certification specifications,” said Hammes. The company is also presenting the new Ultrasint PA6 Black LM X085 material for SLS as a follow-up to its Ultrasint Grey PA6 LM X085.
Notably, B3DPS is adding polypropylene to its 3D printing portfolio with Ultrasint PP. The new material, for laser sintering technologies, demonstrates excellent mechanical properties, including plasticity, low moisture uptake and liquid and gas resistance. The material is suitable for the production of industrial prototypes and small batch parts and is compatible with post-processing treatments such as thermoforming, sealing and dyeing.
Since BASF acquired Advanc3D Materials in July 2018, B3DPS also expanded its laser sintering materials with the addition of polyamide Adsint PA12, Adsint PA11, Adsint PA11CF and Adsint TPU flex 90.
Finally, B3DPS has grouped well-established and new photopolymers under the brand name Ultracur3D. “Our Ultracur3D portfolio enables us to offer customers various UV-curable materials for 3D printing that provide far better mechanical properties and higher long-term stability than most available materials,” commented András Marton, Senior Business Development Manager at B3DPS. “These materials have been developed for functional components that are subject to high stress.”
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