MOVING FASTER TO SET UP NEW PARTNERSHIPS IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING AND BRING INNOVATIVE NEW SOLUTIONS TO THE INDUSTRY.
In order to help industry master 3D printing manufacturing processes more quickly, Arkema is forming multi-actor partnerships with machinery manufacturers and end-users. Some ecosystems are encouraging this democratization, such as the collaboration with Autodesk, a supplier of professional software solutions, and Farsoon, a company specialized in the laser sintering of polymer and metal powders. This co-development in complementary fields, combining software, printing machinery and advanced materials, fosters innovation and accelerates the adoption of additive manufacturing in industry, by offering end-customers the ability to quickly create hundreds of print-ready designs. “Our goal,” summarizes Sumeet Jain, Senior Director 3D Printing Worldwide at Arkema “is to position ourselves very early on at the heart of the technological options that are going to emerge.”
Another key partnership is the collaboration between Sartomer and, since its creation in 2013, the start-up Carbon, in which Arkema has acquired a shareholding. This business in Silicon Valley, the world center for digital technologies, is aiming to take 3D printing into the age of mass production. Combining their innovation capacity in terms of technology and materials science, the two players want to push back the frontiers of 3D printing by revolutionizing the logistical and manufacturing model, and producing reliable and competitive parts for mass markets such as sports or consumer goods. “This kind of strategic partnership is going beyond the basic customer-supplier relationship. We co-develop tomorrow’s solutions that will revolutionize traditional manufacturing models and open the field to new designs and new performance in all business sectors,” explains Julie Haevermans, Global Communications and Marketing Director at Sartomer.
Sartomer, working in strategic co-development agreement with the American based start-up Continuous Composites, is extending the use of its high-performance resins to the 3D manufacturing of composite materials. This disruptive innovation heralds a major step forward in weight reduction.
Taking the manufacturing of parts in composite materials to the next level is the challenge that Arkema has taken up with 3D printing, in a strategic agreement signed with the Idaho-based start-up Continuous Composites.
Continuous Composites’ patented Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D®) technology involves the instant hardening of N3xtDimension® photocure resin deposited through a nozzle attached to the end of a computer-piloted robot arm. This resin impregnates a continuous fiber in carbon or Kevlar®, for example. The part can be printed without support, enabling the 3D printing of complex and unique geometries with neither mold nor autoclave, which will help to drastically reduce leadtimes, cost and waste; and also open up limitless design possibilities compared to traditional composite manufacturing processes. This technology will speed up the development of bespoke composites in sectors with very demanding specifications, such as aerospace, the automotive sector, industry and construction. The goal is to meet the growing demand for lightweight materials, which help to reduce energy requirements and CO2 emissions.
Arkema has been supporting the US start-up since its beginnings in 2013, as it implements a manufacturing process for 3D parts that is completely disruptive. “Continuous Composites chose us for our agility – our ability to adapt our resin formulations to the needs of all kinds of applications. This is a genuine co-development relationship,” points out Sumeet Jain, Senior Director, 3D Printing Worldwide at Arkema. “We are very proud to position our materials on this technology that is really disrupting the traditional manufacture of composites.”