Danish startup AddiFab has just announced an extended strategic collaboration with Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials, a global manufacturer of high-performance thermoplastic materials. Together, the companies will bring AddiFab’s Freeform Injection Molding (FIM) process to market, offering manufacturing services based on the technology from three Mitsubishi Chemical locations.
Developed by AddiFab, Freeform Injection Molding is a new process that utilizes 3D printing to produce injection mold inserts. The hybrid approach enables injection molders to exploit the design freedom of additive manufacturing while still benefiting from the strength and finish quality of traditional injection molding. From the other perspective, manufacturers can leverage the benefits of AM while exploiting injection molding’s wide material selection.
“AddiFab has built Freeform Injection Molding to break key injection molding constraints,” explained Lasse Staal, CEO of AddiFab. “FIM lets the injection molder create injection-molded objects with the same design freedom offered by conventional 3D printing. At the same time, we have brought 3D printing lead-times and start-up costs to the injection molding industry, without compromising on the choice of materials.”
Through the partnership between the two companies, which has been ongoing since 2019, Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials will begin to offer AddiFab’s technology to select customers. The FIM-based manufacturing services will be available at its facility in Mesa, Arizona starting in early Q3 2020, and two other facilities in Tielt, Belgium and Nagoya, Japan will add the capability later in the year.
“Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials is leading the field of metal replacement polymers,” commented Randy White, Chief Innovations Officer. “We quickly realized that Freeform Injection Molding would allow us to offer entirely new levels of light-weighting, and we have been working with AddiFab to bring our KyronMAX materials onto the FIM platform. When we were able to drive an 8,000-pound pick-up truck onto a KyronMAX lattice weighing only 70 grams, we knew we were onto something.”
“At AddiFab, we are thrilled to be teaming up with the world’s NO. 1 in metal replacement materials,” added Staal. “We look forward to working with MCAM on adding entirely new dimensions to the fields of generative design and topology optimization, and to redefining the way metal replacement materials are used in weight reductions.”