Materials company Covestro and industrial 3D printer manufacturer voxeljet (NASDAQ: VJET) are collaborating to develop a material-machine combination to additively mass produce (AMP) large series of parts. New generation high-speed thermal powder bed fusion processes, such as HSS for production, combine the advantages of selective laser sintering in terms of material properties with the speed of binder jetting processes.
After jointly developing and qualifying a Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) powder for HSS, the two companies are taking their collaboration to the next level by bringing customers a seamless material-process solution for volume manufacturing of their specific applications.
“Typically, material and processing technology work separately in the value chain, with customers having to figure out how to make them work,” said Geoff Gardner, Innovation Director Additive Manufacturing at Covestro. “Together with voxeljet, we want to remove what we believe is still a barrier for adopting AM on the production floor. Thanks to its size and speed, coupled with the constant layer time, HSS offers manufacturers an economic solution for series production.”
voxeljet will contribute its knowledge with its large-format VX1000HSS printer platform, and Covestro its expertise in designing functional materials, to develop a seamlessly working material-process solution that can be deployed for large scale manufacturing.
James Reeves, Global Director of Polymer Sintering (HSS) at voxeljet added: “This is a match of two companies strongly believing in really close collaboration across the additive ecosystem. The potential of HSS to process specialty powder materials is tremendous. By offering customers material choices, we accelerate their access to pioneering products.”
Material possibilities that the companies are considering are TPUs, which are suited well for footwear and cushioning applications, as well as thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polypropylene (PP). The collaboration with voxeljet involves scaling new materials on the large-format, industrial manufacturing machine – VX1000HSS, currently accessible via voxeljet’s Early Access Beta Program.
Both companies are looking for additional interested parties to join the development program and will be showcasing their polymer powder materials and printers at Formnext 2021 from Nov. 16th – 19th in Frankfurt.