FRANKFURT, Germany—The 2019 edition of the leading European additive manufacturing event Formnext is returning to Frankfurt, Germany, Nov. 19-22 to highlight the latest upstream and downstream processes in the world of 3D printing.
At the show, BASF's additive manufacturing arm BASF 3D Printing Solutions (B3DPS) will introduce its new corporate brand identity "Forward AM," which will drive industrial scalability as the next phase of additive manufacturing. The new logo and tagline emphasize the company's "future-oriented, leading-edge materials and technologies," BASF said in a statement ahead of the show.
Under the new brand, BASF will offer end-to-end materials and service solutions along the entire value chain, from an initial product idea to mass production.
Forward AM is claimed to offer the most extensive materials portfolio in the industrial 3D printing market today, encompassing powder bed fusion, advanced plastic and metal filaments, and the latest photopolymers.
At Formnext, Forward AM will show its entire virtual engineering service spectrum, from a component's initial design concept (design for AM), simulation (Ultrasim), printing and finishing, to scanning and testing.
BASF also will introduce an advanced flexible coating materials, which will be added to the portfolio of the company's products in the first quarter of 2020.
The new coating, available in black, white, metallic, silver and transparent, is especially well-suited to flexible materials such as elastic Ultrasint TPU 01, developed in collaboration with HP for their Jet Fusion 3D-printer.
Forward AM also is set to expand its thermoplastic Ultrafuse filament portfolio significantly, starting with the test-marketing of Ultrafuse TPU 95A, Ultrafuse ABS ESD and Ultrafuse PEI 9085.
The company will be making sample volumes available as of January 2020, with larger volumes provided from the end of Q1 2020.
German specialty chemicals firm Covestro A.G. will debut its filaments, powders and resins for common 3D printing processes.
Covestro also said it would introduce a new brand for its 3D printing program, but did not give further details.
"With our innovative developments, we are positioning ourselves not only as a problem solver, but also as a reliable partner for the supply of larger quantities and for upscaling production processes," Patrick Rosso, global head of additive manufacturing at Covestro, said Nov. 12.
The company will use the venue to promote 3D printing via film extrusion.
The process, it claims, is more efficient with films than with filaments, as the throughput of a print head for films is significantly higher than that of a print head for filaments.
"In addition, the production of the films is more cost-effective than filament production, and their storage requires less space," said Jonas Kuenzel, technical development for additive manufacturing.
Claimed to unlock "completely new possibilities" for the combination of materials, the use of extruded films offers higher precision, with virtually no deviations in film thickness.
Covestro said it developed a special print head for additive manufacturing, using these semi-finished products that easily can replace a conventional print head. In the process, the film passes through a cooled area into a heating zone, where it melts under the influence of the supplied thermal energy and becomes liquid.
New category in industrial manufacturing
Another German supplier, Evonik Industries A.G., has expanded its partnership with U.S. start-up for 3D printing technologies NXT Factory, to supply materials for an innovative QLS technology concept.
QLS 350 is a powder-based 3D printing technology, which was developed by NXT Factory, based on a patented laser light engine.
Designed for completely automated, lights-out, 24/7 operation, this system enables the potential of Industry 4.0 by taking additive manufacturing from prototyping to low and medium volume production.
The printer features an autonomous guided vehicle (AGV), so that the powder bed can be cooled outside the machine and moved autonomously to the depowdering station. The technology has been designed to process high-temperature materials such as Evonik's polyamide 613 (PA 613).
"We have applied all our mechanical engineering experience to the development of the new QLS technology in order to create a new category in industrial manufacturing," said Kuba Graczyk, CEO of NXT Factory.
The new technology, according to Evonik, offers possibilities for the company's polymer formulations developed in accordance with its "ready-to-use" concept for strategic material development.
Under the new strategy, the company's focus is on the development and manufacture of "ready-to-use" high-performance materials across the major technology segments.
Injection moulded quality
AMT Technologies will introduce what it describes as the world's only automated surface finishing technology that achieves an injection molded surface quality on polymer 3D printed parts.
The company will be presenting the patent pending PostPro3D technology, an automated post processing solution for smoothing thermoplastic polymer 3D parts, at Formnext.
In addition, it will showcase its digital manufacturing system which automates each of the manual post processing steps through depowdering, surface modification, and coloring.
AMT uses machine learning and automation to adapt post processing to any industrial manufacturing requirement.
The show also will celebrate the winners of its start-up challenge 2019.
The winning start-ups, AdditiveLab of Belgium, Exponential Technologies Ltd. of Latvia, Glassomer of Germany, LMI-Laser Melting Innovations of Germany, and Spectroplast of Switzerland impressed the international judging panel with a diverse range of industrial 3D printing innovations, including software and simulation solutions for more efficient additive manufacturing, a low-cost metal printer, and additive manufacturing solutions using glass and silicone.