BASF announces partnerships and strategic alliance to advance 3D printing

BASF 3D Printing Solutions (B3DPS; Heidelberg, Germany), a subsidiary created by BASF and introduced in September, made several announcements involving 3D printing machine manufacturers in parallel with the formnext 2017 trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, which runs through Nov. 17.

BASF announced a partnership with Ricoh, a technology supplier in the field of laser sintering machines for 3D printing of plastic powders, as the two companies evolve their additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities. BASF and Ricoh are collaborating on materials, processing and application development to bring further innovation to the market, said the announcement.

The partnership also includes development of new materials for the Ricoh AM S5500P, which has been installed by BASF in its 3D-P Application Technology Center in Heidelberg. The agreement will increase the capabilities of the high-end plastic sintering production machines.

Greg Plowman, Director of Ricoh Europe’s Additive Manufacturing Business Group, said: “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. By partnering with BASF, we can jointly enhance our development expertise to meet specific and advanced customer requirements for end-use parts.”

In another announcement, BASF and EOS GmbH have agreed to cooperate on the development of new plastic powders. In this collaboration, EOS, a leading technology supplier in the field of industrial 3D printing of metals and polymers, and BASF will work toward advancing 3D printing in industrial applications. For this to happen, versatile materials are needed to satisfy various requirements for specific functional applications.

“We are pleased to collaborate with BASF on plastic powders for our systems,” stated Peter Keller, Head of Material and Process Development at EOS, headquartered in Krailling, Germany. “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.”

In this collaboration, BASF has developed a thermoplastic polyurethane powder for laser-sintering processes, which can be jointly evaluated with partners and customers for specific applications.

BASF  also announced a strategic alliance for industrial 3D printing materials with BigRep (Berlin). They will jointly develop 3D printing solutions aimed at accelerating the wholesale introduction of additive manufacturing technologies into industrial applications. Upon successful finalization, BASF will become a preferred material and application development partner for BigRep.

A technology start-up founded in 2014, BigRep develops and manufactures the world’s largest 3D printers, including the BigRep One, supplemented by the smaller BigRep Studio. BigRep provides hardware, software, materials and services for large-scale 3D printing, and sees the future cooperation with chemicals company BASF as proof of its continuing commitment to engineering and manufacturing cutting-edge filaments and printers.

Both companies expect to finalize the alliance in the coming weeks and solidify plans to work together internationally on innovative 3D printing applications and materials.

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