Things are starting to get interesting in the world of 3D printing. Alright, so I’ve always thought they were interesting, but, now, they’re starting to get mainstream interesting with all sorts of big names entering the market. LG Chem, a subsidiary of LG Corp and the largest chemical company in Korea, is increasing its presence in the world of 3D printing through the manufacture of ABS.
LG Chem is supplying Stratasys with its ABS plastics, sending their ABS pellets to a processing company, which then sends the feedstock to the 3D printer manufacturer. In fact, the company is already a player in the materials market, providing ABS to over 1,000 processing firms in Korea and elsewhere. An insider at Stratasys explained that the company may already have been partnered with the 3D printer manufacturer: “To our knowledge, LG Chem may have already begun providing ABS for Stratasys. ABS is currently the most commonly used materials for 3D printers.” A representative from LG Chem confirmed that the company will expand its supply to material processors, saying: “Although the ABS market for 3D printers is still small, we believe it will see further growth.”
Other Korean companies, such as SK Chemicals and Hyosung, have begun to supply the 3D printing market as well. An analyst from Hyundai Securities Co., Lim Sang-kook, reasons that Korea is well prepped for the boom in 3D printing materials: “Patents issued by U.S. companies to manufacture 3D printers have been expiring, and Korean companies, with their skills in producing synthetic resins, have shown increased interest in taking a piece of the 3D printer industry. Though it may take some time for the companies to gain a meaningful global market share, they’ll have a high potential if they can produce good-quality materials at a lower cost.”
While you’ll often hear me whinge about giant companies like LG, I respect LG Chem for its work in alternative fuels, producing lithium-ion batteries for the Chevy Volt and Ford Focus Electric — even if lithium-ion batteries raise their own ethical concerns. Until I learn more about LG, I’ll definitely be glad that they’re supplying Stratasys’ filament, instead of some other, more, potentially, dangerous company.
Source: Korea Herald