HEERLEN, Netherlands—Dutch chemicals firm Royal DSM has disclosed a new partnership with Chromatic 3D Materials and printer manufacturer German RepRap to offer high-performance, flexible printed parts based on Chromatic's line of polyurethane materials.
The partnership, which covers the 3D printing value chain, aims to remove the existing barriers in the way of 3D printing with PU and similar materials, DSM said in a statement.
As part of the collaboration, GRR will make its printing equipment accessible to manufacturers interested in using Chromatic's recently launched FlexTune line of flexible, high-performance PU elastomer materials. DSM will contribute its "comprehensive knowledge of additive manufacturing materials, markets and applications," to offer a complete solution to manufacturers in a broad range of industries.
Examples of specific applications that benefit from flexible parts include noise-reducing buffers and mechanical clutches for power transmissions in cars, and gaskets used in train braking systems.
Chromatic's materials also have proven highly successful in the footwear industry for personalized insoles.
"Removing barriers that stand in the way of the adoption of this technology (flexible materials) by teaming up with partners like Chromatic and GRR clearly underscores the power of DSM's 3D printing ecosystem," said Hugo da Silva, VP Additive Manufacturing at DSM.
The trio, he said, can "unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing and scale 3D printing to industrial production levels."
DSM and Chromatic teamed up in April last year to introduce and explore the use of thermoset materials for 3D printed parts.
The collaboration, according to German RepRap CEO Florian Bautz, enabled processors to manufacture thermoset material parts that are "difficult or impossible" to produce by injection molding, while offering the same mechanical properties as injection-molded parts.
In this new partnership, the companies expand their collaboration to market Chromatic's line of FlexTune materials.