Collaborations between dynamic industrial companies are not uncommon in the 3D printing world as it allows for everyone to bring forth their specialties—and combine them for further innovation—along with adding capital to the venture in many cases too. Today, Victrex and Bond announced a partnership meant to improve the supply chain of materials for customers seeking parts 3D printed with PAEK. PAEK Is a family of high performance polymers that often have very high continuous service temperatures, chemical resistance and mechanical strength. These polymers such as PEEK and PEKK are used in aircraft and other high performance applications.
Victrex, headquartered in the UK, will be making a multi-million Euro investment into Netherlands-based Bond High Performance 3D Technology. The current focus is for the Bond team to continue production in high-grade thermoplastics via their customized 3D printers and software, along with their commitment to ‘Bondability,’ the term the company created not only to represent their intellectual property but also their work effort and dedication to their 53 team members. Victrex will also be able to bring their dedicated experience in material applications to the partnership and most importantly—customer expertise.
“Our investment in Bond´s 3D technology is a logical way to accelerate 3D printed PAEK/PEEK parts to market,” Jakob Sigurdsson, Victrex CEO explained. “We need to ensure that all the key elements, including material, process, and hardware are aligned to fulfill our goal of enabling our customers to manufacture 3D printed PAEK components for critical high-performance applications. We’re now at a stage where the technology is sufficiently developed to embark on exciting development programs.”
In today’s press release the two companies went on to explain that their objective is to build on the strength in current polymers being produced by Victrex and then move forward in creating high-performance, strong parts. They also share a goal in working toward the process of integrating rapid prototyping with an industrial manufacturing environment. In using Bond technology with PEEK materials, these two progressive partners expect to produce a wide range of functional parts that are as mechanically strong as those created through more conventional manufacturing methods. They also foresee making such leaps as one of the critical elements in ‘maturing the use’ of thermoplastics in 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
To begin, Victrex and Bond will focus on spine and semiconductor segments created with materials like PEEK-OPTIMA™ from Invibio Biomaterial Solutions, Victrex’s medical business, or VICTREX™ PAEK thermoplastic. Although Bond hardware and software are still in the beta phase, they expect such forays into the use of these materials and creation of new 3D printed parts to translate into other applications too such as:
- Manufacturing and engineering
“We found that the market needs strong functional parts made from high-performance polymers that can be used not only for prototyping but for production. With our dedicated focus on 3D printing technology for high performance polymers, we were able to develop a technology to achieve the full strength of existing PAEK and PEEK polymers. This includes the strength in the z-direction, which is the most difficult to achieve with high-performance polymers in general and PEEK in particular,” said Gerald Holtvlüwer, CEO, Bond High Performance 3D Technology. “We’re excited to partner with a world leader in PAEK polymer-based solutions. Victrex´s material know-how and their strong marketing and sales activities, are a perfect channel to market for us and a complement to our pioneering technology.”
Development at Bond is expected to keep expanding through later this year as they continue to grow their inventory of 3D printers and move into the next phase of part qualification and early stage production. Bond at the moment is able to make near solid part without the voids that make regular printed parts weak.
“Collaboration and partnerships are the key to establishing the necessary supply chain for additive manufactured PAEK parts,” summarized Sigurdsson. “After focusing, as part of Innovate UK projects, on new optimized PAEK/PEEK materials, partnering with Bond is the next important stage. Their advanced technical capabilities and ambitious, innovative culture will help to meet the needs of industries that can benefit from the exceptional material properties PAEK brings, in combination with the manufacturing benefits and freedom that their AM technology offers.”
3D printing has prompted a wide range of research into methods and materials, and many manufacturers are making use of thermoplastics to create strong parts for important global applications. Victrex has continued to build momentum, and we have followed previous endeavors as they have introduced new materials and engaged in other collaborations.
Find out more about Victrex here, and Bond High Performance 3D Technology here. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Image: Victrex press release]
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