3D printing solutions manufacturer BCN3D Technologies and one of the global leaders in adhesives, sealants, and functional coatings, Henkel Adhesive Technologies, are set to collaborate on the development of formulations for the recently released Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM) 3D printing technology. This official collaboration is the latest step in what has been an ongoing alliance between the two teams since 2020.
With more than 100 years of expertise in applications across industries under its belt, Henkel is more than qualified in its provision of end-to-end engineering solutions for additive manufacturing, the majority of which is conducted through its brand, Loctite. Accordingly, BCN3D will take advantage of the collaboration to bring forth new materials for VLM, thus accelerating its vision of unlocking manufacturing autonomy to grant manufacturers full control over every stage of any production process using AM.
Through this collaboration, the unique properties of Viscous Lithography Manufacturing will be leveraged to develop new solutions for high-performance resins. This technology consists of a patented lithography-based 3D printing process that laminates thin layers of high viscosity resins onto a transparent transfer film, producing high-performance parts rapidly and affordably. What distinguishes VLM from other resin technologies on the market is its ability to process resins 50 times more viscous than the industry standard. By eliminating a strict low viscosity constraint, a whole new set of ingredients and modifiers can be added to the resin to achieve the desired effect on thermal and mechanical properties.
The materials currently under development by Henkel and BCN3D cannot yet be fully disclosed; however, one of the primary areas of research is in elastomeric applications – one that is indubitably beneficial from high-viscosity resins. These materials can include a high fraction of oligomers to obtain a loosely cross-linked polymer network: a structure that can flexibly withstand mechanical stresses, act like industrial-grade molded elastomers, and provide improved mechanical properties.
“BCN3D has unveiled a groundbreaking technology that enables printing high viscosity resins. Thermal and mechanical properties are enhanced by additives that typically increase the viscosity of the resins, which in other cases makes them more difficult to print. The BCN3D team has developed a novel technology that removes the limitations of viscosity and allows the printing of a wide range of new materials which we have witnessed firsthand over the last few years of collaboration. We look forward to seeing the tremendous impact VLM technology brings to the additive market together with new Henkel Industrial resins,” said Sam Bail, Director of 3D Printing and Partnerships at Henkel.
Henkel’s 3D printing resins will be implemented in BCN3D’s new Applications Center, where the VLM Technology Adoption Program is taking place. Participants will join renowned companies, Saint Gobain and Prodrive, in being the first to discover VLM and experience its full potential for themselves with real 3D printed parts, accompanied by individual attention to cater to their exact printing needs.
“BCN3D is very excited to announce this collaboration with Henkel, and it represents a significant milestone in the history of VLM. The VLM Technology Adoption Program is showing us the potential of VLM technology and how it can help companies to overcome their current limitations. There is no doubt that this technology combined with new customer-targeted formulations will fulfill the needs of the AM sector,” said Xavier Martínez Faneca, CEO of BCN3D.
The very first official highlight of this joint venture will take place at the Rapid event on the 17-19th of May 2022, in Detroit, Michigan, where both companies will explain and illustrate the benefits of the collaboration, all while showcasing 3D printed parts made with VLM.