Acquisitions, Mergers & Partnerships

Sustainable additive manufacturing: Nedcam and RoyalDSM announce FGF printing partnership

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Dutch companies Nedcam and RoyalDSM announced a sustainable additive manufacturing partnership that leverages Nedcam’s new Flexbot robotic 3D printer and Royal’s pellet materials. The partnership continues both companies’ interest in sustainable manufacturing via circular designs and processes.

The announcement further highlights additive manufacturing’s potential to improve the industry’s relationship with the environment and healthy living. Coming on the heels of DyeMansion’s receiving funding from the European Innovation Council, the partnership highlights a complementary aspect of additive manufacturing’s green potential.

The partnership is significant because Nedcam is a market leader in plugs, molds and shaping technology. These parts currently create significant amounts of waste because they are created from single-use materials. RoyalDSM brings experience with reusable thermoplastics and circular design to bear on Nedcam’s 3D printing offering.

Nedcam manufactures 3D shapes using digital milling, digital polystyrene cutting, concrete molding and, recently, 3D scanning and printing. These services originated as an offshoot of the Marine Research Institute Netherlands, and Nedcam continues to work on marine applications for its technologies. The company has expanded into wind energy, transportation, construction and infrastructure, architecture and art.

Royal DSM—a former mining conglomerate—now specializes in purpose-led science and technology development with a focus on healthy, sustainable living. The company owns subsidiaries specializing in three overarching fields: nutrition, materials and innovation. The materials segment covers most additive manufacturing applications. The company applies its sustainable worldview to the AM sector by cooperating with the entire value chain and promoting reusable materials in AM processes. It is a promoter of sustainable additive manufacturing uptake across industries.

Diagram of RoyalDSM's sustainable approach
Diagram of RoyalDSM’s sustainable approach

The announced partnership uses Nedcam’s robotic fused granulate fabrication 3D printer in concert with Royal’s knowledge of reusable thermoplastics to create objects out of recycled materials. The companies will also collaborate to develop and test new materials, processes and applications to bring innovative solutions to markets requiring large-size 3D printing. Nedcam’s current client base benefits from this move, and the companies are collaborating closely with Royal HaskoningDHV for slicing structural elements.

Pieter Leen, an application development specialist in additive manufacturing at Royal DSM, endorsed Nedcam’s technology: “At DSM we believe that FGF is a critical technology to address the need for manufacturing structural and large-size components using highly filled polymers at competitive production lead times. Nedcam provides an important link between product development and market demand and their printing activities will help accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing”.

Erwin van Maaren, the co-founder and commercial director at Nedcam, said: “We absolutely want to reduce the waste in our production process and go circular. By combining DSM’s 3D printing and thermoplastics expertise without production knowledge and production facilities, we want [to] take the necessary steps toward a sustainable and fully circular model production process”.

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