If there’s one thing we know about BASF, it’s that the global chemical company is putting forth all of its available resources in order to climb to the top of the next-generation 3D printing materials mountain. Collaborations are key in the 3D printing world, and BASF has been busily setting up partnerships all across the industry with companies like Farsoon, Essentium, and Poietis, and was also named one of HP’s materials development partners.
The company acquired both the Solvay polyamide business and Innofil3D this year, and in July ramped up its 3D printing focus even more by creating a new business completely dedicated to additive manufacturing, BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF New Business GmbH. The business, residing in Heidelberg, Germany and made up initially of about 30 employees, was formally introduced in September, and focuses solely on 3D printing materials, system solutions, components, and services.
This week at formnext 2017 in Frankfurt, BASF 3D Printing Solutions announced several new partnerships with 3D printer manufacturers, meant to further advance 3D printing. The first of these is a partnership with Ricoh, which supplies technology in the field of plastic powder laser sintering 3D printers.
“The wider success of the AM market in the coming years rests on crucial advances made in material sciences. These improvements will pave the way for creative implementations in new verticals and industries,” said Greg Plowman, Director of Ricoh Europe’s Additive Manufacturing Business Group. “By partnering with BASF, we can jointly enhance our development expertise to meet specific and advanced customer requirements for end-use parts.”
Both companies are working to evolve and grow their AM capabilities, and will work together to provide innovation to the 3D printing market in materials, processing, and application development. As part of the agreement, BASF and Ricoh will develop new materials for the high-end Ricoh AM S5500P, which offers a 550 x 550 x 500 mm build volume and uses SLS technology to produce both functional and design prototypes with polymer powder. The 3D printer has been installed in the BASF 3D-P Application Technology Center in Heidelberg.
BASF also announced that it is partnering up with fellow German company EOS GmbH to develop new plastic powders. In order to advance industrial 3D printing, a goal of both companies, versatile materials are necessary in order to comply with all of the requirements that specific functional applications need.
As part of its collaboration with EOS, BASF has developed a new thermoplastic polyurethane powder for laser sintering.
“We are pleased to collaborate with BASF on plastic powders for our systems. This collaboration enables our customers to have a more versatile choice of standard materials from different producers, whereas we trust in BASF’s expertise in producing consistent quality polymers,” said Peter Keller, Head of Material and Process Development at EOS.
To complete this week’s trifecta of announcements, BASF 3D Printing Solutions also announced a strategic alliance with Berlin-based technology startup BigRep for – you guessed it – industrial 3D printing materials.
BigRep develops and manufactures some of the largest 3D printers in the world, like the BigRep One with its 1005 x 1005 x 1005 mm build volume, and supplies hardware, materials, services, and software for large-scale 3D printing. BigRep views its new alliance with BASF as solid proof of its commitment to manufacturing and engineering filaments and printers, and the two will work to jointly develop 3D printing solutions that center on speeding up the introduction of AM technologies for the industrial scale.
The companies expect to finalize the alliance over the next few weeks, and will shore up plans to develop 3D printing materials and applications on an international level. Once the agreement is finalized, BASF will then become a BigRep preferred material and application development partner.
What do you think of these new partnerships? Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Source: Plastics Today]