BASF is investing S25million in 3D printing technology supplier Materialise, based in Leuven, Belgium, and building upon their existing partnership. The two companies are establishing an open business model to optimize both materials and software for 3D printing, and to accelerate commercial applications including in the automotive, aviation and consumer goods industries. “With its 3D printer facilities in Leuven and innovative software solutions, Materialise has an outstanding infrastructure,” said Volker Hammes, MD of BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH, in a statement.
Clients of Materialise have included Nissan, which has used Materialise Magics software and its Sinter Module to create prototypes and experiment with new design forms. Data preparation time for Nissan was said to have been reduced by 50pc, cutting the amount of manual work needed, automating key steps such as data error correction in CAD, and thus transforming the development process.
Materialise’s 3D printing technology was also notably used for one-off interior panels for the Peugeot Fractal concept car [pictured], which features surfaces designed to create an anechoic chamber for sound spatialization. Its Build Processor software is said to have reduced the sizes of the design files, saving design metadata in ‘slices’ for easier management of the printing process, while its Streamics software monitored the entire printing workflow, including the laser-sintering of the components in polyamide to give a tactile coating.