3D Printing – It’s Going Mainstream in the Chemical Industry!
While 3D printing has been around for about 30 years, recent advances in technology along with lower costs and competitive pressures have caught the attention of at least one large chemical company. BASF SE plans to establish a new Group company using this technology to establish and expand their business in materials, system solutions, components and services in the field of 3D printing.
Potential applications lie in both Industrial and Chemical
BASF sees their customer base being industrial firms such as automotive, aerospace and consumer goods. Currently, only a small amount of the 3,000 plus materials used in component manufacturing are available in 3D printing.
In addition, the company recognizes the potential to lower costs and improve operational efficiencies within the chemical industry through new feeds and formulations. Always an industry heavily focused on R&D, chemical companies are constantly on the search for new ways to convert raw material such as oil, natural gas, and water into a myriad of products. BASF sees opportunities for 3D printing to help in the development of innovative feedstock and corresponding revenue.
3D printing offers flexibility in production batch sizes
3D printing applications abound for plastics, resins, as well as metal powders or ceramic materials. Particularly attractive is the flexibility 3D printing allows in those complex productions where only a small batch size is desired. As BASF sees it, any chemical company using 3D printing to seek innovative ways to create these new materials is putting themselves in the driver’s seat in the area of process development.
Managing Director of the new 3D Printing company Volker Hammes explained the company’s reasons for founding the new division this way – “The field of 3D printing for industrial applications is highly dynamic and still emerging. This means there is a need for agile, startup-like structures with interdisciplinary teams and quick decision-making processes. Combining the customer-focused 3D printing activities in one location at a dedicated business is an important success factor.”
The Chemical industry has always been complex and competitive. The increasing use of 3D technology supports the industry’s focus on discovering new, innovative ways to produce the vital ingredients needed in the manufacture of products.
If you have a chemical background, give us a call. At Key Corporate Services, our Chemical division is constantly looking for a broad range of candidates who are looking to thrive and grow in this exciting industry.