3D printer manufacturer Nexa3D and materials developer Henkel have been partnering for years across multiple fronts of the AM chain. This time, both partners announced today another exclusive material development agreement where they will develop next-generation functional materials specifically optimized for 3D printing production applications. The announcement follows the development of new photo-elastic materials that can be processed on Nexa3D’s ultrafast polymer and SKOP, an application in medical 3D printing.
At the heart of this new collaboration, both companies will explore the development of a new casting material. Ideal for industrial metal castings suitable, this resin could best fit applications across the automotive, robotics, heavy machinery, and hydraulics sectors.
From a production standpoint, combining advanced design AM tools can lead to better results including reductions in material, energy consumption and final part weights and costs.
On the other hand, unlike traditional manufacturing processes, such as using wax patterns where expensive tooling and refrigerated transport are required to maintain their shape during transport, the new casting material produces thermally stable patterns, removing this way the need for refrigerated containers or bespoke tooling for each design.
Furthermore, using this process, the parts would be more sustainable, compared to traditional stereolithography processes, because they use fresh resin, rather than resin from a large vat that requires constant energy to maintain, the company notes in a press release.
“We have found that fewer than five percent of the more than 45,000 foundries globally currently use 3D printing, with adoption typically constrained by technology being either too slow or too expensive,” explained Kevin McAlea, COO of Nexa3D. “Compared to traditional stereolithography printers, the combination of this new material and our ultrafast technology offers 20X productivity and produces far more robust parts. Foundries and patternmakers now have access to a complete digital workflow that enables them to speed up production and post-processing to develop patterns faster.”
“By entering into a formal material development agreement with Nexa3D, we can now leverage the power of Albert, our highly agile, proprietary, digital innovation platform, to unlock the full potential of the Loctite photopolymers portfolio and Nexa3D’s ultrafast additive production platform”, says Simon Mawson, Senior Vice President and Global Head of 3D Printing and Incubator Businesses at Henkel.
So far, the marriage between Nexa3D and Henkel seems to work perfectly as we continue to see new developments specifically designed for vertical industries adopting AM. And here again, we look forward to seeing real applications made possible with this casting material.
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