Evonik has acquired Structured Polymers Inc., a US-based technology startup for 3D printing materials headquartered in Austin, Texas. A corresponding agreement and plan of merger were executed and the transaction has been closed recently. The acquisition will provide Evonik access to a new patented technology that will allow the company to expand its portfolio of specialty polymer powders in the additive manufacturing market.
“The acquisition of Structured Polymers’ technology excellently complements our existing activities with high-performance polymers for additive manufacturing,” says Dr. Ralph Marquardt, the head of Strategy and Growth Businesses for Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH. “Thanks to our decades of expertise in polymer chemistry, this means we will expand our portfolio of customized, ready-to-use polymer materials for the highly attractive, rapidly growing 3D printing market, thus giving us a key role in shaping the development of that market.”
Structured Polymers will be entirely integrated into Evonik’s North American organization, while its company headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas.
“We are very pleased to harness the power of Evonik to expand our innovative technology platform even further. In the near future, this will allow us to diversify the 3D printing materials market to a significant degree and to work with our customers on developing new business opportunities,” says Vikram Devarajan, CEO of Structured Polymers Inc.
Evonik already laid the foundations for the acquisition of the technology startup in the fall of 2017 through a venture capital investment.
New technology for 3D printing materials
Structured Polymers’ innovative technology starts with a polymer granulate, which is converted to a fine powder through various process steps. This makes it possible to produce polymer powders with controlled particle sizes ranging in diameter between 0.1 and 400 µm, while achieving excellent material properties.
“The new technology allows us to take virtually any semi-crystalline thermoplastic, such as polybutylene terephthalate, polyether ketone, or polyamide 6, or polymer powders with specialized properties like color, conductivity, or flame protection, and produce them for common powder-based 3D printing processes, such as selective laser sintering, high-speed sintering, or multi-jet fusion,” says Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, the head of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Growth Field at Evonik. “In addition, we anticipate that Structured Polymers’ technology can be scaled up easily and economically.”
The 3D printing market is booming with double-digit growth rates. Within this market, Evonik is the world’s leading manufacturer of polyamide (PA) 12 powders, which have been used in additive production technologies for over 20 years. In addition to its PEEK filament and PA 12 powders, the company’s product portfolio also includes flexible PEBA powders and a wide array of additives such as dispersing agents, flow enhancers, and reactive modifiers.