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Royal DSM and CEAD explore new materials for FGF 3D printing

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Global science company Royal DSM has announced a new partnership with CEAD, a Dutch company specializing in 3D printing large-scale fiber-reinforced thermoplastic structures. Through the collaboration, DSM and CEAD will advance Fused Granulate Fabrication (FGF) technology and materials with the aim of creating new applications for the platform in the production of tooling and end-use parts.

CEAD is known for pioneering an innovative 3D printing platform called CFAM Prime (which stands for Continuous Fibre Additive Manufacturing). The system, recently recognized by the JEC Innovation Awards, is capable of printing fiber-reinforced structures at rates of 15 kg/hr.

By teaming up with DSM, CEAD will seek to advance its FGF 3D printing and develop new materials for its large-format platform. Specifically, the companies will leverage their respective expertises to explore innovative tooling and end-use applications in the automotive, marine and infrastructure industries.

As part of the collaboration, DSM will be buying and installing a CEAD robotic 3D printer to initially use for R&D purposes. As of September 2019, however, the materials developer plans to open up the CEAD platform for commercial projects via a service partner. The system in question consists of a special extruder from CEAD that is installed on a 6-axis robotic arm from Comau with control from Siemens. The robotic 3D printer is also fitted with a milling center and scanning unit for direct and automated post-processing.

CEAD DSM partnership

DSM will work closely with CEAD on its AM platform to develop new material profiles optimized for the FGF process. Like all other 3D printing processes, material availability is a key part of unlocking new applications and driving industrialization.

“By expanding out offering to FGF materials, DSM gives manufacturers across the globe maximal flexibility in choosing the material and technology that best suits their desired applications,” said Patrick Duis, Segment Leader Transportation at DSM Additive Manufacturing. “FGF technology allows us to use highly filled polymers that increase the thermal, mechanical needs and the performance of our application and thus takes us closer to injection molded parts.”

Maarten Logtenberg, CEO of CEAD, added: “The relationship between the 3D printing technology and the materials that are used in the process are key. Through this collaboration with DSM and their understanding of the materials, we are able to fully leverage the technology to its full potential.”

Royal DSM also announced this week that it is teaming up with San Francisco startup Origin to optimize material profiles for its innovative Open Additive Manufacturing platform.

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