BCN3D, the 3D printer manufacturer, has converted its Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM) business unit into a newly formed company called ‘Supernova’. This new company has been incorporated in the US and will have headquarters in both Austin, Texas, and Barcelona, Spain. Supernova is not a subsidiary of BCN3D; instead, the two entities are completely independent, and there are no further bonds between the two entities.
Supernova’s vision is to elevate products through advanced technologies, based on its breakthrough VLM technology. Supernova unlocks real production applications by providing solutions that combine quality, productivity, and a competitive cost per part.
BCN3D’s stated purpose is to enable innovators to create the future by making industrial AM accessible. The company focuses on enabling engineers to enhance product design through functional prototyping and to improve factory operations with tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
To be successful, each of these visions require a distinct business model and company structure. The technologies, customers, applications, and materials all differ significantly. By carving out its VLM business unit into Supernova, BCN3D ensures that each has its own space to flourish in the long term.
Supernova will be led by CEO Roger Antunez, who previously served as the General Manager of BCN3D since 2019. Joining him as a co-founder is Marta Mico, formerly the VLM Head of Business Development at BCN3D. Additionally, Eric Pallares, the former CTO of BCN3D, will join Supernova as a Distinguished Technologist. Meanwhile, the rest of the team will remain at BCN3D, with Pol Domenech, the Sales Director, stepping up as the new General Manager.
Under the leadership of its CEO Xavi M. Faneca, BCN3D will continue to focus on its core business of extrusion-based technologies. The company aims to expand its leadership in the IDEX segment that it created in 2016, and grow its industrial offering with products like the BCN3D Omega I60, an all-in-one industrial FFF 3D printer built for the factory floor featuring IDEX technology, an actively heated printing chamber, a massive print volume, and architecture ready for high speed.
At the core of Supernova is Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM), a lithography-based AM process that laminates thin layers of high-viscosity resins onto a transparent transfer film before photopolymerizing the resin into the 3D printed object. The resins can be up to 100 times more viscous than those used in traditional DLP, SLA, or MSLA processes – unlocking an unparalleled range of properties. These properties are closer to thermoplastics than standard thermosets and are achieved in an efficient and scalable manner.
With the formulation freedom enabled by high viscosity, Supernova’s materials portfolio benefits from a broader set of available ingredients. From a chemical-based standpoint, the process can handle not only acrylates but also silicones, epoxies, or filled materials, among others. To support its long-term materials strategy, Supernova has formed partnerships with major chemical companies in AM – including a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Arkema, and other partnerships with Altana, Elkem, Henkel, and Rahn.
VLM technology has garnered significant interest in the market, evidenced by the registration of over 500 companies in the Technology Adoption Program. These companies span various industries, including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, consumer goods, footwear, audiology, and healthcare, among others. Strategic partnerships with customers such as Puma, Saint Gobain, Orbea, Hutchison, and Prodrive have since been driving the materials and technology development in alignment with customer needs. Apart from industrial markets, Supernova will also concentrate on the defense and space sectors – aiming to develop industry-specific materials that other existing AM technologies cannot process.
During the next year, Supernova plans to leverage the Technology Adoption Program to develop applications in key vertical markets. This initiative aims to influence both materials development and the industrialization of hardware systems, ultimately forming a production-ready ecosystem. Beta deployments in customer sites are expected during 2024. In line with these goals, the company will be expanding its R&D teams in both materials and products, as well as its business departments.