In its latest move to advance the industrialization of 3D-printing technology, BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) announced that it is expanding its cooperation with Materialise, a pioneer in 3D printing based in Leuven, Belgium. BASF also has agreed to invest $25 million in the company to accelerate the development of new applications and create new business opportunities.
The partnership seeks to continuously improve materials and software for various 3D-printing technologies and bring them more rapidly to the market within the framework of an open business model. Applications in the consumer goods sector and in the automotive and aviation industries are the primary focus.
The agreement allows for systematic, wide-scale testing and further optimization by BASF of its materials on the machines and within the infrastructure of Materialise, said the press release.
“Our two companies’ business areas complement each other very well and our cooperation will put us in an even better position to find and develop new business opportunities,” said Volker Hammes, Managing Director of BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH, in a prepared statement. (As reported in PlasticsToday, the wholly owned subsidiary of BASF was established on Sept. 1, 2017 and is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany.)
“With its 3D printer facilities in Leuven and innovative software solutions, Materialise has an outstanding infrastructure,” continued Hammes. “Together, we can exploit our strengths even better to advance the 3D-printing sector through the development of new products and technologies with our partners and our customers,” he added.
Noting that its industrial customers increasingly demand more control, more choices and lower costs, Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen sees the partnership as a means to fulfill these requests. “We are confident that this collaboration with a leading manufacturer of materials will help to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing in existing vertical markets and create significant business opportunities in new markets.”
In a blog post commenting on the partnership, Vancraen writes that, while 3D printing has made great strides as a complementary manufacturing technology for finished products in certain sectors, the technology lacks interoperability.