Deemed “The Future of SLS Powder” Structured Polymers’ specialism is color, with their TrueBlack powder described as “the world’s first SLS ink with inherent color”. As such, these powders do not require any recoloring, i.e. painting or dyeing, after 3D printing.
By adding Structured Polymers to its material portfolio, Evonik continues to grow its presence in the additive manufacturing sector.
Dr. Ralph Marquardt, head of Strategy and Growth Businesses for Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH, comments, “The acquisition of Structured Polymers’ technology excellently complements our existing activities with high-performance polymers for additive manufacturing,”
“Thanks to our decades of expertise in polymer chemistry, this means we will expand our portfolio of customized, ready-to-use polymer materials for the highly attractive, rapidly growing 3D printing market, thus giving us a key role in shaping development of that market.”
Working with the inventors of SLS
An offshoot of restructuring at RAG AG, Germany’s largest coal mining corporation, Evonik was formed in 2007.
The product offering covers a portfolio of more than 4,000 materials, including resins, aerosols and polymer additives. In 3D printing, the company was an early partner of HP’s Open Materials Platform, and it produces polymer powders for leading German 3D printer manufacturer EOS. Further ramping up its efforts in additive, the company recently announced that it would be opening a new specialist Polyamide 12 (PA12) powder production plant, fueled in part by an increased demand for 3D printing materials.
On the other hand, Structured Polymers was founded in 2013. In May 2014 the company received $1.5 million in seed funding through online equity platform Microventures. Its CTO, Dr. Carl Deckard, and adviser, Dr. Joseph Beaman, are credited as the inventors of SLS technology from the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1980s.
Structured Polymers patented technology
Structured Polymers uses patented technology to manufacture materials for additive manufacturing. Its first product is True Black Nylon 12, an SLS powder that promises superior surface finish and color to plain, 3D printed powders. Though proved with this polymer, the technology is applicable to a wide variety of thermoplastics.
Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, head of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Growth Field at Evonik, explains, “The new technology allows us to take virtually any semi-crystalline thermoplastic, such as polybutylene terephthalate, polyether ketone (PEK), or polyamide 6, or polymer powders with specialized properties like color, conductivity, or flame protection, and produce them for common powder-based 3D printing processes, such as selective laser sintering, high-speed sintering, or multi-jet fusion,”
“In addition, we anticipate that Structured Polymers’ technology can be scaled up easily and economically.”
Terms of the acquisition
Evonik first placed its interest in this acquisition through a venture capital investment in Structured Polymers dating back to fall 2017.
Vikram Devarajan, CEO of Structured Polymers Inc., concludes, “We are very pleased to harness the power of Evonik to expand our innovative technology platform even further,”
“In the near future,” he adds, “this will allow us to diversify the 3D printing materials market to a significant degree and to work with our customers on developing new business opportunities.”
Full terms of the transaction between Evonik and Structured Polymers remain undisclosed.
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Featured image shows 3D printed parts made from Structured Polymers True Black Nylon 12. Photo via Structured Polymers