Danish footwear brand ECCO Group is no stranger to innovation, as it has taken the advancement of 3D printing in stride with its footwear production. Most recently, the shoe manufacturer announced its alliance with BASF 3D Printing Solutions and Origin, a San Francisco-based startup known for its Open Additive Manufacturing technology. Through the partnership, ECCO will leverage the new Origin One 3D printer and BASF’s Ultracur3D photopolymer materials to transform footwear production at its R&D facility.
In addition to the partnership announcement, Origin is introducing the Origin One 3D printer, based on its programmable polymerization process (also known as P3). The newly launched 3D printer is capable of producing highly detailed and accurate parts thanks to its light, heat and forces control. The P3 process monitors polymerization data and automatically optimized the production conditions. The Origin One has a build volume of 192 x 108 x 350 mm.
The technology has reportedly already shown its potential for achieving high detail accuracy and mechanical stability for ECCO’s footwear production. “We expect Origin’s open additive approach will enable us to reduce development time, lower costs and accelerate our time-to-market,” said Jakob Møller Hansen, Vice President of R&D at ECCO.”
A key part of the Origin One’s success at the ECCO facility is BASF 3D Printing Solutions’ Ultracut3D photopolymer materials which are optimized for the P3 process.
“Origin’s newly developed printing system is optimally tuned for our innovative Ultracur3D photopolymer series,” explained Arnaud Guedou, Business Director Photopolymer Solutions, BASF 3DPS. “This enables end-users to achieve high processing speeds and a superb surface finish that reliably reproduces even the finest textures and ensures outstanding mechanical stability.
“We have worked shoulder to shoulder with our customers and know that we need to provide market-beating customized solutions in terms of surface finish, mechanical properties, price-per-part produced, and productivity. The combination of Origin’s technology with BASF’s materials is extremely promising, as the initial results and first functional prototypes of the collaboration clearly illustrate.”
Origin aims to create a broad and versatile materials portfolio for its P3 platform through strategic partnerships with chemical companies such as BASF and Royal DSM. Its ultimate goal is to offer its additive manufacturing technology as a viable solution for mass production.
The Ultracur3D materials developed by BASF 3DPS consist of adapted materials and wholly new photopolymers for DLP, SLA, LCD and now P3 processes. The material family is characterized by high strength and impact resistance, elasticity and long-term UV stability. In terms of applications, the materials can be used for prototyping as well as mass production.
“Not only did we work closely with BASF to develop new materials, but also the 3D printing processes for each of them,” said Charlie Vestner, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing at Origin. “In close consultation together we determined how we can achieve specific high-quality resolutions and process control that suit our customers and their applications perfectly. We offer customers unrivalled control over the printing process—not just in designing their product, but also in the sheer scope of design options it offers, meaning it can be tailored precisely to each specific application.”
Oleksandra Korotchuk, Business Development Manager at BASF 3DPS, concluded: ”Origin is an ideal partner for BASF as they share our industry-leading quality standards. With their printing processes they are able to achieve consistent Class A surface finishes and exceptional resolution, while our materials contribute to ensuring long-term functional usage.”
Origin’s P3 technology was first revealed at Formnext 2018, when the company came out of stealth mode and announced a $10 million investment as well as a materials partnership with BASF.