Plastic 3D printing continues to struggle with moving beyond the prototype phase due to a lack of durability and strength of the printed parts. Global material manufacturer BASF and 3D printing filament supplier Essentium are teaming up to enable the creation of more robust parts for use in mass production leveraging fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology, one of the standard techniques of additive manufacturing. BASF brings to the partnership the most comprehensive portfolio of innovative materials in the chemical industry while Essentium provides its FlashFuse™ electric welding technology, which enhances layer to layer adhesion of 3D printed parts.
“BASF is committed to advancing 3D printing to the next level across all major additive manufacturing technologies,” said Kara Noack, Head of BASF’s 3D-Printing business in North America. “I am confident that our collaboration with Essentium will enable the creation of 3D printed functional parts and make the technology accessible to a broader range of industrial customers.”
Both companies are combining their core strengths to provide a range of polymer solutions that overcome the traditional interlayer weakness of 3D printed parts. Essentium’s FlashFuse technology, engineered to the highest levels of safety and compliance, performs in-situ welding which can be applied to multiple open system FFF printer platforms. This electric welding technology helps boost isotropy, an indicator for the homogeneity of a structure, and ramps up vertical strength and mechanical toughness of the printed parts.
“Essentium Materials’ distinctive FlashFuse technology addresses one of the prevalent challenges for achieving isotropic 3D printed parts,” said Dr. Blake Teipel, Essentium’s President and CTO. “Our partnership with BASF will provide robust and strong 3D printing solutions for extremely demanding applications.”
The companies are focusing on FFF printing technology because of its ability to use a wide range of thermoplastics, fabricate large, complex parts rapidly and efficiently, and easily combine multi-modality materials in the same print. In addition, FFF is uniquely suited to provide printed parts that are both structural and composed of filaments loaded with functional fillers.