For more than a year, BASF and Essentium have been working together to develop advanced 3D printing materials with high mechanical strength, using Essentium’s proprietary FlashFuse technology. The two companies are now extending their strategic partnership to establish a consistent global materials supply chain that supports Essentium’s new High Speed Extrusion (HSE) 3D printing platform. Materialise will also be joining them to develop 3D printing software for Essentium’s technology. Users will be able to take advantage of the speed of HSE technology while having immediate access to Materialise’s full professional 3D printing software capabilities.
“Materialise, Essentium and BASF share a vision for growth in the 3D printing industry that builds on the creation of meaningful applications in an open and vibrant ecosystem,” said Bart Van der Schueren, CTO of Materialise. “This partnership helps to promote a more open market model, which will fuel the adoption of 3D printing in the industrial field by offering users more control, more choice in materials and ultimately lower cost and higher volumes.”
The partnership will benefit from BASF’s material expertise as well as its large product portfolio and global network. Materialise brings its comprehensive software knowledge, while Essentium adds its developing 3D printing platform, which includes its FlashFuse technology and engineering-grade, multi-layer filaments.
“Our joint investment strengthens our co-operations with both Essentium and Materialise and accelerates the innovation potential of this powerful team to the benefit of BASF’s customers,” said Markus Solibieda, Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital.
BASF Venture Capital is leading the Series A investment round in Essentium, joined by Materialise as well as a syndicate of private venture investors.
“With this strategic investment, Essentium and BASF are focusing on improved supply chain performance, material consistency and accessibility,” said Dr. Blake Teipel, CEO of Essentium. “Essentium is also delighted to begin a new partnership with Materialise as the three companies focus efforts toward a new era for smart solutions in the global additive extrusion space. Together, we believe manufacturers everywhere will be able to accelerate production due to increased access to our new solutions, bolstered by a holistic, customer-centric approach.”
BASF, Materialise and Essentium state that they are aiming to drive the transition from 3D printing to additive manufacturing – but what does this really mean? Overall, their vision is to take 3D printing from a prototyping to a true manufacturing technology, firmly establishing a place for it on the production floor. The three companies in the new partnership plan to bring their respective strengths in hardware, software and materials together to do so. Higher speeds, stronger materials and more comprehensive software are all parts of the plan to make additive manufacturing a technology that can truly compete with other manufacturing methods in both large and small scale production settings.
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