Innovative Partnerships Drive 3D Printing Materials Development

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Successful adoption of additive manufacturing technologies in mass manufacturing requires close partnerships across hardware, software and materials technologies. In order to unlock 3D printing’s full potential and bring the technology mainstream, players throughout the evolving value chain should seek to foster deep, collaborative alliances with technology providers and take advantage of existing technical expertise. One of the key catalysts to ensure the continued growth of 3D printing is tailored materials upstream in the value chain.

Arkema is in the unique position to leverage technical expertise across multiple materials technologies and support such alliances through its 3D Printing Solutions by Arkema platform. Led by its flagship brands including N3xtDimension® liquid resins, Rilsan® biosourced polyamide 11, and ultra-high-performance Kepstan® PEKK polymer, Arkema’s product offerings span all major 3D manufacturing technologies in partnership with the market’s major players.

Sartomer, already supporting the industry for decades, offers customized, engineered resins under its N3xtDimension® brand. These solutions, along with expert support, help manufacturers move beyond past performance limitations so they too can be at the forefront of the 3D printing revolution. Arkema and Sartomer have positioned themselves to support the development of enhanced materials and final formulations through crucial partnerships across industry segments.

Partnering to Advance Digital Manufacturing Adoption

A leading example of the power of 3D printing collaboration is the strategic partnership between Arkema, through the Sartomer business line, and Carbon®, the world’s leading digital manufacturing company. Since Carbon’s inception in 2013, we have worked together to scale process technology and resin manufacturing, bringing materials, adapted to consumer needs, at the leading edge of innovation and disrupting the traditional supply chain model to take digital manufacturing to the mainstream.

Parts made by Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis™ technology have become increasingly reliable and cost competitive, enhanced by the strategic partnership with Sartomer. Digital Light Synthesis™ technology, enabled by Carbon’s proprietary CLIP™ process, is a breakthrough technology, which uses digital light projection, oxygen permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to produce parts with excellent mechanical properties, resolution and surface finish. Our collaboration has already proved to revolutionize mass production in sports, dental and consumer goods markets. 

To support the next generation of fully integrated digital manufacturing platforms, cutting-edge materials and innovative solutions, Arkema invested US$ 20 million to Carbon® Growth Funding Round in June 2019. This next phase of the alliance is an exciting opportunity for both companies to grow the pipeline of production applications driving volume and revenues, through advanced materials technology. 

Celebrating Women in Sport and 3D Printing Innovation

Another successful 3D printing collaboration is the partnership between Arkema, again through Sartomer, and Massivit 3D Printing Technologies, a pioneer of large format 3D printing solutions, currently deployed mostly for visual communication. Massivit 3D’s work spans the advertising, retail, events, entertainment, interior design and architectural sectors. Recently, Massivit 3D is also providing solutions to service bureaus serving the automotive sector. The company’s solutions enable rapid and cost-effective production of super-sized, eye-catching 3D signage, displays and props.

Since its inception in 2013, Massivit 3D has partnered with Sartomer and has benefitted from its market-leading supply of N3xtDimension® UV-curable liquid resins. Sartomer’s resins are the base materials that make up a significant portion of Massivit 3D’s unique, proprietary Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP) technology. This technology enables the super-fast production of super-sized, lightweight, hollow 3D-printed elements up to 1.8 meters/6 feet tall, giving Massivit’s customers the power of large format additive manufacturing.

A recent demonstration of the advantages of Massivit 3D GDP technology, enabled by the use of the advanced Sartomer solutions, is the first life-sized, 3D-printed model of a professional female soccer star. Arkema sponsored this famous player, a member of the French team, in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

To bring this vision to life, first, the soccer player was scanned to create a high-resolution model. Then, the model was printed by Deko 3D by Sépia on Massivit 1800. The model was made with Massivit 3D’s unique Dimengel technology using Sartomer’s N3xtDimension® performance UV curable liquid resins. The resulting duplicate, 1.7 meters/5.6 feet tall, was printed in a record 11 hours.

Sartomer’s partnership with Massivit 3D will continue to facilitate a new generation of applications for the company’s current visual communication market and will encourage the discovery of additional verticals that can benefit from using this technology in other industrial segments.

3D Printing Center of Excellence

Sartomer strongly supports collaborative innovation with the industry’s brightest visionaries and welcomes new opportunities for innovation. In order to continue to cultivate and maintain such partnerships, Arkema invested in the 3D Printing Center of Excellence, which celebrated its grand opening in Exton, Pennsylvania (USA) in July 2018. It’s an advanced R&D lab where Sartomer and its partners collaborate to develop cutting-edge 3D printing resins through advanced materials research.

The facility aligns with Arkema’s mission to supply next generation solutions, invest in expert knowledge, and deliver advanced testing capabilities to help bring 3D printing to the mainstream. The center is part of Arkema’s worldwide R&D network, which includes research centers in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (USA) for filament extrusion technologies and Serquigny (France) for powder sintering technologies.

To access Sartomer’s full range of N3xtDimension® resins or to contact our technical experts, please visit our UV curable 3D printing solutions site

By Sumeet Jain, Global Business Director for 3D Printing at Sartomer

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