Fortify and Henkel collaborate to develop 3D printing for injection molding

Fortify, the Boston-based company behind Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) has partnered with German chemical manufacturing giant Henkel to develop optimized, industrial 3D printed parts.

The partners will leverage DCM technology to mix reinforced fibers with Henkel’s resins, that magnetically aligns them for maximum strength in various 3D printed parts, including injection molds. Ken Kisner, Innovation Lead for 3D printing at Henkel, stated:

“As new applications are unearthed, our development team is working quickly to help qualify and validate them. We have a wide range of materials in our portfolio and we’re committed to leveraging our knowledge and technology, in partnership with customers and companies like Fortify, to accelerate the growth of additive manufacturing.”

A 3D printed tool used to mold an automotive part. Photo via Fortify.
A 3D printed tool used to mold an automotive part. Photo via Fortify.

3D printed injection molds

According to Fortify injection-molded parts demonstrate a 20-100% increase in strength, stiffness and Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT) as a result of reinforced fibers. With Henkel, Fortify is aiming to transfer this effect into 3D printed parts. This involves the replacement of traditional metal tooling with inserts that are 3D printed, enabling the reduction of costs and production time. Henkel’s range of resins will facilitate the development of such parts. Karlos Delos Reyes, Vice President of Applications and Co-Founder at Fortify, added:

“When prototyping or producing parts in small runs, tooling cost and time are major barriers. With our 3D printed molds that utilize Henkel’s resin, we have proved the viability of these tools for low production runs. As we help injection molders reduce the expense and time involved with producing molds, they can quickly react to new opportunities.”

3D printed sample of Locitite resin. Photo via Henkel
A 3D printed sample of Loctite resin. Photo via Henkel.

Tooling with additive manufacturing

Responsible for global adhesive brands such as Sellotape and Locktite, Henkel, founded in 1876 entered the 3D printing materials market in 2016. Following this, the company opened a 700 square meter multi-million Euro facility in Ireland to develop new advanced additive materials and joined Origin’s Open Material Network.

Fortify will utilize Henkel’s durable, high temperature and high modulus resins within its 3D printers to field beta tests of new parts in the spring of 2020. This collaboration is also developing end-use part applications using the same resources. Kisner, who is also the founder of California-based chemical company Molecule Corp, which was recently acquired by Henkel, continued:

“This is a benchmark for the types of collaborations Henkel strives to cultivate. Our strong, data-driven approach to material innovation continues to unlock the power of additive manufacturing. Fortify is focused on delivering value in industries where part performance is mission-critical. Together we’re making it happen.”

Fortify DCM-made brake lever. Photo via Fortify
Fortify DCM-made brake lever. Photo via Fortify

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Featured image shows a 3D printed part made with DCM. Photo via Fortify.