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Evolve Additive Solutions partners with Kodak to develop electrophotographic technology for 3D printing

Evolve Additive Solutions has partnered with Kodak, a New York-based technology company focused on imaging, to supply Evolve imaging systems, parts, and consumables based on the KODAK NEXPRESS digital production color press

The companies will also work to develop Evolve’s 3D printing technology Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP) for commercial release in 2020.

“We are very encouraged by the opportunity to expand our electrophotographic platform capabilities outside of 2D imaging to the 3D printing or additive manufacturing sector,” said John O’Grady, President, Print Systems Division, Kodak.

“Having worked closely with the talented staff of engineers working on the STEP technology for several years, we are confident Evolve will help change the way the organizations approach production of plastic parts for manufacturing.”

STEP 3D printing factory floor. Photo via Evolve Additive Solutions
STEP 3D printing factory floor. Photo via Evolve Additive Solutions

The KODAK NEXPRESS Platform

With over 40 years of experience in electrophotographic technology, Kodak has ventured into the additive manufacturing. Last year, the company launched its first desktop 3D printer, Portrait, for the professional creative market.

The KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Color Press is designed for short-run packaging such as labels, tags, and small folding cartons, as well as commercial and publishing products. As a result of this partnership, Evolve will be utilizing a Kodak-developed toner manufacturing process to make the part toners for the Evolve system.

The KODAK NEXPRESS ZX Digital Production Color Platform. Photo via Kodak.
The KODAK NEXPRESS ZX Digital Production Color Platform. Photo via Kodak.

Developing STEP additive manufacturing

STEP is based on the proprietary technology behind standard photocopiers and laser printers. The method uses a negatively charged drum that reacts to light due to a photoconductive coating.

“Creating a strong technology partnership with Kodak is an important element in the development of STEP,” said Steve Chillscyzn, CEO of Evolve Additive Solutions.

“The selection of the Kodak systems and technology for STEP allows us to deliver to the market a highly reliable solution, based on a proven engine that is recognized as one of the most productive printing systems in world. By working with Kodak, we have a technology and a collaborative relationship that will not only allow us to get to market quickly, but we will have the throughput expansion to grow as we push STEP capabilities into the future.”

Kodak has also licensed relevant intellectual property to Evolve in support of the development effort.

Schematic of Evolve Additive Solutions' electrophotography-based additive manufacturing system. Image via US patent 8488994 B2
Schematic of Evolve Additive Solutions’ electrophotography-based additive manufacturing system. Image via US patent 8488994 B2

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Featured image shows STEP 3D printing factory floor. Photo via Evolve Additive Solutions.

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