Stereolithography-based 3D printers Evonik acquires minority stake in Chinese 3D printing specialist
Germany — Through its Venture Capital unit, speciality chemical company Evonik has acquired a minority stake in Chinese company Union Tech. The Shanghai-based company is active in the field of stereolithography 3D printing.
Materials specialist Evonik expects great technical advances in the field of stereolithography. The company is preparing the launch of ready-to-use materials for this process. To further this application, the group acquired a stake in the Chinese company Union Tech. Their additive manufacturing technology makes it possible, to produce highly accurate and detailed polymer parts. According to Bernhard Mohr, head of the Venture Capital unit, the investment is not only aimed at a profitable financial return, but above all at new insights in the use of stereolithography 3D printing. Evonik expects an accelerated market access for the new photopolymer products, especially in the very fast-growing Chinese market, Mohr continued.
In a stereolithography process the part is pulled from a bath of light-curing liquid resin. Laser or display light sources cure the photopolymer layer by layer, resulting in a three-dimensional product. With this method, the production of very complex workpieces is possible, which have a much smoother and firmer structure than with other 3D processes. Typical markets include automotive and aircraft manufacturers as well as industrial parts or special shoes.
Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, head of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Growth Field at Evonik, sees the investment as an excellent addition to the existing portfolio. Evonik is preparing the introduction of a set of new formulations to the market as a starting point of the group’s new Infinam photopolymers product line. In addition to the polymer portfolio for powder-based processes and biomaterial filaments for medical technology, Evonik will offer a range of innovative ready-to-use resins for photopolymer-based technologies in order to further diversify the material landscape of the entire 3D printing market, according to Grosse-Puppendahl.
The Innovation Growth Field Additive Manufacturing plays an important role in the company’s strategy and is thereby supported by the Venture Capital team. So far, Evonik has invested in multiple companies in the field of additive manufacturing to support the development of this industry.