German chemical company WACKER has opened its first ACEO Open Print Lab in the U.S. The new facility is based at WACKER’s Silicone R&D lab in Ann Arbor, MI and houses additive manufacturing systems capable of processing silicone rubber materials with a broad range of Shore A hardnesses and colors. The new ACEO print lab will provide customers with first-hand tutorials and hands-on training for silicone rubber 3D printing.
“We are pleased to announce another milestone in ACEO’s history with the launch of the Open Print Lab in Ann Arbor,” said Dr. Bernd Pachaly, Head of Project 3D Printing at WACKER SILICONES. “North America is one of the leading markets in additive manufacturing. Our new facility brings 3D printing with silicones much closer to potential customers in the region.”
The first ACEO Open Print Lab was established in 2017 in Burghausen, Germany. The facility (and the new U.S.-based one) aims to help customers explore and understand the potential of 3D printing with silicones—a still niche segment in AM.
Though the company’s ACEO technology is more broadly available through the WACKER 3D printing web shop, which launched in 2016, the aim with the Open Print Labs is to deepen customers’ understanding of the technology.
“Our business partners in the region want to understand how their ideas and products can be brought to market with our support,” said Ian Moore, Vice President of WACKER SILISONES at Wacker Chemical Corporation in Adrian, MI. “WACKER’s Silicone R&D Center in Ann Arbor was designed to develop advanced and forward-looking solutions for silicones. With the new Open Print Lab we can significantly expand our local portfolio and contribute to the growing demand of the market.”
The first American Open Print Lab is headed by Lab Manager Sarah Burke, who previously worked at the Silicones R&D Center specializing in product research for construction applications and consumer care. According to WACKER, the lab now houses two 3D printers which are capable of working with a range of silicone rubber materials.
The ACEO platform was developed specifically for printing silicone elastomers, making it something of a unique technology in the AM sector. WACKER will present the technology through the print lab in workshops with small groups, as well as through personalized training programs and printing sessions.