Belgian chemical company Solvay and 3D printing company Stratasys have announced a strategic partnership through which they will develop high-performance filaments for Stratasys FDM F900 3D printers. The partnership will initially focus on adapting Solvay’s versatile Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) polymer.
The collaboration is driven by the shared vision of offering a broad range of materials for 3D printing that can fulfill all manner of industrial applications. The first material on the agenda, Radel PPSU, meets stringent FAR 25.853 requirements for the aerospace industry and could open up key end-use applications for Stratasys FDM F900 users. The companies’ joint product roadmap projects a commercialization date of 2020 for the Radel PPSU filament.
“Stratasys’ customers have been repeatedly asking for more varied, high-performance materials, while many of Solvay’s customers want our high-performance polymers to be enabled for use on Stratasys’ industrial 3D printing systems,” said Christophe Schramm, the business manager for Additive Manufacturing for Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit. “This important partnership between our two companies now allows us to fulfil these burgeoning needs.”
Solvay has developed Radel PPSU grades for 25 years with a focus on aircraft cabin interior components. Like all materials in the aerospace segment, they have had to undergo extensive testing and validation to ensure they are compliant with all commercial and regulatory requirements for flammability, smoke density, heat release and toxic gas emissions. The Radel PPSU grades offered by Solvay also demonstrate excellent chemical resistance and toughness.
“Solvay is a trusted leader of diverse, tested materials for demanding aerospace, automotive and medical industries,” said Rich Garrity, President of Stratasys Americas. “We’re proud to have this new collaboration agreement in place which will give customers the ability to further expand FDM 3D printing into production applications.”
Down the line, Solvay and Stratasys will collaborate on various other high-performance products that meet industry-specific needs in other key AM end-use markets. As mentioned, the Radel PPSU is being adapted specifically for the Stratasys FDM F900 3D printer, a production-grade machine that was recently adopted by Bombardier Transportation.
Schramm concluded: “This partnership with Stratasys is an important step in Solvay’s strategy to build a solid, diverse AM ecosystem to better serve our customers. The combination of Solvay’s materials’ selection and expertise with Stratasys’ high quality, repeatable 3D printing capabilities will open up new possibilities for additive manufacturing in more of the industries that we serve today for ‘traditional’ manufacturing.”