Novel 3D Printing Solutions for Finishing

As Lee Hughes from Oklahoma Custom Coating points out in his article this month in Products Finishing, custom coaters are beginning to explore 3D printing as a way to help with masking and other necessary steps in finishing a part. It is not surprising, then, that major finishing suppliers are also starting to bridge the gap into the additive manufacturing market with 3D-printing-related products and services. Henkel’s Adhesive Technologies business unit is now offering the ability to create tailor-made materials for 3D printing.

Philipp Loosen, who heads the company’s 3D printing division, says it is expanding strategic partnerships with global technology leaders to drive adoption in the rapidly growing market for additive manufacturing beyond prototyping to final parts production.

“We are supplying customers worldwide with a broad portfolio of high-performance materials such as light-cure acrylic, silicone, epoxy and polyurethane adhesives,” Loosen says. His business unit develops custom-made products and services to various industry segments, including the finishing market.

To help expand the use of 3D-printing solutions for masking and prototype applications, Henkel is offering a growing portfolio of related services and equipment in addition to the chemicals and adhesives it is normally known for, including specialized enabling equipment for automation as well as solutions for curing, impregnation and surface treatment in post-processing.

“We believe that the full potential of additive manufacturing will come by identifying the right customer application and focusing the right materials with the right printing process, and leveraging the right software,” Loosen says.

Henkel also is partnering with technology companies such as Carbon and HP, which already have developed products for 3D printing. With Carbon, Henkel is working on materials and specialized dispensing equipment for polymerization-based 3D-printing technologies. Additionally, the company is beginning to develop Loctite resins for Carbon’s materials ecosystem. HP and Henkel are working in HP’s open-materials community to develop materials for HP’s powder-fusion-based Jet Fusion technology. In fact, Henkel says it is the first global reseller of HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions to enable qualifications among industrial production.

The Jet Fusion 3D printers are said to be able to print as much as 10 times faster thanks to HP’s proprietary printing technologies, boasting 30 million drops per second across each inch of working area. For example, the HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200 printer can produce between 130 and 299 parts per week, while the 4210 model can make between 700 and 1,000 parts per week, the company says.

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