Most manufacturing applications that use plastics have access to hundreds of thousands of different material options. In comparison, 3D printing has only a handful of material options, and many of them will not actually work on most standard machines. Developing a wider range of materials with universal usability and a full range of applications is vital to the continued evolution of the 3D printing industry. While 3D printing technology has continued to advance at rapid speeds over the past few years, material development has been comparatively slower. But as 3D printing assumes a larger role in manufacturing and industry, many traditional materials companies are finally starting to adapt their products for the 3D printing industry.
3D printing materials developer Somos, the additive manufacturing arm of global science-based materials company Royal DSM, is moving into the beta phase of their collaborative materials development program with EnvisionTEC. The industrial 3D printer and 3D printing products manufacturer entered into their partnership with Somos to develop advanced materials for the EnvisionTEC line of ULTRA 3SP (Scan, Spin and Selectively Photocure) 3D printers. The materials being developed will have uses in a wide range of industries that require high definition, ultra-fine detailed parts, including jewelry, hearing aids, dental applications, consumer products, automotive and consumer product design.
“Great progress has been made in the collaborative partnership with Somos. We are excited to test this developmental material with one of our strategic customers that is looking to make very large parts with high detail. We believe they will be as excited as we are with the performance of the 3SP printer and this material,” said EnvisionTEC Chief Operating Officer John Hartner.
Somos and EnvisionTEC both reported that they have achieved excellent results during the alpha testing phase of their new material. This game-changing material solution was developed specifically for the EnvisionTEC 3SP series of large frame 3D printers. The new, high-performance material was formulated to be extremely durable while providing high-detail resolution with excellent dimensional stability and part accuracy. As with all 3SP light-cured materials, the new prototype material will leave no striation or stair-stepping marks and will have a smooth, nearly injection molded level of detail.
“This is just the start of the collaboration between us. We are thrilled to be working with EnvisionTEC to bring new solutions to the 3D printing industry,” said Somos Business Director Melissa Lutz.
The next step of the material development partnership between Somos and EnvisionTEC is to take their prototype material into a working beta phase. EnvisionTEC will select several of their key customers to work with the new material and test its use in large-scale, high-detail, high-speed additive manufacturing applications. You can learn more about the 3D printing materials being developed by Somos on their website, and you can learn more about the multi-platform ULTRA 3SP 3D printing technology developed by EnvisionTEC here. Discuss this latest development in the Somos & EnvisionTEC Beta Testing forum over at 3DPB.com.