BASF has been steadily expanding its reach into the 3D printing industry, forming its dedicated 3D printing branch last year and since going on to acquire, partner with and invest in several other 3D printing companies. Today BASF continues its pattern with the announcement that BASF Venture Capital has invested in the Chinese company Prismlab.
“This is our first direct investment in a Chinese company,” said Markus Solibieda, Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital GmbH. “The trailblazing technology from Prismlab allows large and stable components, such as medical braces and anatomical models, to be 3D printed for the first time. This investment supports BASF’s strategy of actively advancing our technologies and expanding our product offering in the 3D printing sector.”
Prismlab is the developer of a patented 3D printing process known as Pixel Resolution Enhanced Technology, which is based on SLA technology and achieves higher resolution without sacrificing speed. To increase the amount of energy brought into a pixel, Prismlab’s technology divides each pixel in the resin into several small sections, which are then cured individually by exposure to LCD light. This means that the energy input into each pixel is much higher than in other processes, which expose each pixel to light only once. Pixel Resolution Enhanced Technology allows for the production of large, stable components or several smaller components in one step.
Prismlab’s technology offers an output of up to 1,000 grams per hour, which is 10 times faster than any other SLA system available, according to the company. It also allows for precision of up to 100μm. Using LCD light also reduces production costs. The technology is seeing applications in the footwear and furniture industries, as well as in medicine.
“The 3D printing technology must continue to evolve before it is set to change the world,” said Hou Feng, Founder and Chairman of Prismlab. “At Prismlab, we aim to spearhead and accelerate that change by providing solutions through specialized customization. The investment allows us to stay laser-focused on our R&D capability, a key factor to achieve that goal.”
“China is transforming from a manufacturing-driven to an innovation-driven economy,” said Dr. Zheng Daqing, BASF’s Senior Vice President, Business and Market Development Greater China. “This investment in Prismlab reflects our commitment to further expanding our innovation capabilities in China, and BASF Venture Capital plays an important role in helping us identifying potential partners that lead us to success.”
With the investment in Prismlab, BASF continues to demonstrate its seriousness about 3D printing. The chemical company has more than 115,000 employees across the world and has a hand in a large number of industries.
Prismlab also markets 3D printers, including the RAPID series, and 3D printing services. The company was founded in 2005 and developed its patented technology in 2013.
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