Royal DSM, Chromatic 3D Materials and German RepRap (GRR) have formed a partnership to develop high-performance, flexible solutions for 3D printing using Chromatic’s line of FlexTune polyurethane (PU) materials. Together, the companies will create PU-based 3D printed parts for the automotive, rail and footwear sectors, to name a few.
Ultimately, the partners want to support the broad industrial adoption of flexible PU-based materials in the additive manufacturing industry. Today, the process of 3D printing such materials comes with certain challenges which inhibit adoption. By working together and leveraging their respective areas of expertise, Royal DSM, Chromatic and GRR will aim to overcome these challenges.
For one, GRR will make its 3D printing equipment and its expertise more accessible to manufacturers that are seeking to work with Chromatic’s FlexTune line of PU elastomers. The materials, which are not only flexible but durable and reliable, can be used to produce many types of part, including noise-reducing buffers and mechanical clutches for power transmissions in cars; gaskets for train braking systems; and personalized insoles for footwear.
Royal DSM and Chromatic, for their parts, will leverage their extensive knowledge of materials, markets and applications to help manufacturers benefit from 3D printing flexible materials.
“Many high-performance parts require a degree of flexibility in their daily use,” said Hugo da Silva, VP Additive Manufacturing at DSM. “Removing barriers that stand in the way of the adoption of this technology by teaming up with partners like Chromatic and GRR clearly underscores the power of DSM’s 3D printing ecosystem. Combining these partners’ expertise across the 3D printing value chain helps make 3D printing more attainable and offers manufacturers a complete solution. Together, we can unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing and scale 3D printing to industrial production levels.”
The partnership builds on an existing alliance between DSM and Chromatic, which was focused on developing thermoset materials for 3D printing. Now, with the addition of GRR, the companies are expanding the work to address and market Chromatic’s FlexTune materials.
Cora Leibig, CEO at Chromatic 3D Materials, added: “The introduction of FlexTune 3D printable polyurethanes elastomers is a vital step for additive manufacturing to becoming the industrial process for manufacturing flexible parts. Elastomers are no longer just for prototypes, but durable enough to withstand the rigors expected of performance materials in commercial applications. The partnership of DSM’s market knowledge, GRR’s advanced printing capability and Chromatic’s ability to adapt PU materials to additive manufacturing is an exciting leap forward for the industry that we are proud to be engaged.”
Florian Bautz, CEO at German RepRap concluded: “Due to this great collaboration with DSM and Chromatic our customers can now manufacture thermoset material parts that are difficult or impossible to produce by injection moulding. At the same time the final parts have the same mechanical properties as injection-molded parts, which brings major advantages for the future.”