Italy-based SLA 3D printing company DWS has formed a partnership with global chemical company Huntsman to develop and launch a new polyurethane-based resin, IROPRINT R 1801. The SLA material, characterized for its soft and flexible properties, has applications in the footwear market, among others.
The 3D printing resin was developed jointly by DWS and Huntsman (under the latter’s IROPRINT brand) to ensure that the polyurethane material was optimized for the stereolithography process. The resulting product is a radiation-cured, one-component polyurethane that has the ideal characteristics for footwear, sports equipment and other products that require rubber-like properties.
Also key to the material is its printability. According to DWS and Huntsman, IROPRINT R 1801 is an easy resin to print with and imparts smooth and high resolution surfaces. The material also does not require time-consuming and costly curing post-processing.
“With the development of IROPRINT R 1801 resin for SLA, DWS and Huntsman have created a manufacturing solution that will help ease the adoption of 3D printing processes into the manufacturing environment for the creation of a multitude of industrial, rubber-like products, including, specifically, footwear and sports equipment,” said Maurizio Costabeber, CTO at DWS. “As a well-established player in SLA, we produce a large range of our own materials for 3D printing. Working with Huntsman, though, we sped up the development of a joint solution, which avoids the post processing complexities of other existing methods, while delivering—at the same time—the desired result in terms of surface quality and definition on finished products.”
DWS offers a range of 3D printing products, including SLA 3D printers for the jewelry, dental, manufacturing and design verticals. Its materials portfolio consists of various product families, including the FUSIA series for investment casting, the THERMA series for high-definition parts, the IRIX series consisting of a stone imitation material, the tough INVICTA series, and more.
Huntsman for its part offers a range of 3D printing resins, powders and filaments through its IROPRINT line. To date, the chemicals company has brought to market PU materials for SLA and DLP processes and TPU-based materials for HSS, SLS and FFF technologies.
“This announcement is the culmination of more than two years of close cooperation between DWS and Huntsman—and is our first collaboration in the field of radiation curing 3D printing,” added Stephane Peysson, Global Business Development Manager at Huntsman. “This is also the first time that DWS has teamed up with a major polyurethane provider, taking advantage of our world-class equipment, technology and people.
“As we build our 3D printing ecosystem, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with DWS, a highly innovative, pragmatic and focused company. Working together with DWS was really easy. As organizations, we are very similar. Both companies have strong links to the families that founded them, and are entrepreneurial and flexible. Crucially, we are also both aligned in our commitment to furthering the adoption of 3D printing in mass manufacturing.”
Both companies will be showcasing the new material at Formnext this week.