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Rapid Manufacturing of Polyurethane Parts Sidesteps Supply Chain Bottlenecks, Reduces Waste

Chromatics’ 3D-printing technology fabricates parts reportedly as durable as injection molded components in a fraction of the time and at a more competitive cost.

Clare Scott

March 14, 2023

2 Min Read
3D-printed polyurethane part
Image courtesy of Chromatic

Many claims have been made that additive manufacturing is a more eco-friendly technology than more traditional forms of manufacturing. While it’s not always the case, it is true that additive manufacturing has the potential to reduce waste in many cases and applications. Chromatic 3D Materials, maker of industrial-strength 3D-printing elastomers, has developed a new custom manufacturing service for durable polyurethane parts that the company claims will reduce waste, in addition to increasing efficiency and circumventing supply chain issues.

Chromatic uses a 3D-printing technology that it calls reactive extrusion additive manufacturing. The technique creates parts with the same durability as molded parts, the company claims, but with shorter production timelines and more competitive pricing. Because there is no need for tooling with 3D printing, pricing for Chromatic’s parts is highly competitive with molded parts. Grommets, for example, can cost as little as $2, depending on the hole diameter.

Supply-chain difficulties are a major headache for most industries at the moment, but Chromatic says that its service will avoid those hurdles, with typical delivery times running about two to three weeks. The company also offers an option to have parts delivered in as few as five days for an additional fee.

In terms of waste reduction, Chromatic states that its 3D-printing process reduces waste by up to 90% compared with injection molding, for example. 3D printing also offers the opportunity to create parts on demand, reducing the need for overstock or carrying parts that may become obsolete and, therefore, end up in landfills.

“Manufacturers shouldn’t have to rely on overstocking in order to run a reliable business, but increasing supply chain failures put them in a tough position. We have OEMs coming to Chromatic on a regular basis because they can’t get hold of common parts. That’s why we are launching our rapid custom manufacturing business. Now companies can quickly and cost-effectively source one or one million parts, and keep their customers happy,” said Dr. Cora Leibig, Chromatic founder and CEO.

Chromatic’s manufacturing service reportedly has already been adopted by leading industrial and automotive suppliers in the United States and Europe. The company manufacturers parts with ChromaFlow 70 and ChromaFlow 90, thermoset polyurethanes with a Shore A hardness of 70 and 90, respectively. Both grades offer the same three-dimensional strength and compression set as injection-molded parts, according to Chromatic.

Chromatic serves North American customers from its facility in Golden Valley, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. Its European headquarters is in Selfkant, Germany.  

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