Dearborn firm partners for 3D printing tooling applications

DEARBORN—Officials at EnvisionTec, the Dearborn-based 3D printer maker, and Germany’s Covestro, announced a collaboration on material and printer advances to accelerate adoption of industrial 3D printing.

Together, the two companies aim to lower the entry barriers for companies looking to adopt 3D printing for producing molds for low volumes or parts with detailed features faster and more economically.

The combination of Covestro material expertise and EnvisionTEC printer technology resulted in a complete industrial manufacturing system for 3D printing injection mold tooling. Until now, no solution was available that met the stringent industry-required properties in terms of dimensional stability and minimal warpage. The patented material formulation from e-PerForm optimized for EnvisionTEC’s equipment brings the benefits of Somos PerForm to a faster and more economical printer technology.

To bring customers a workable and demonstrated material and printer system, EnvisionTec and Covestro optimized print parameters and verified Covestro’s new DLP resin e-PerForm on EnvisionTec’s Perfactory P4K series printer. EnvisionTec further tested e-PerForm resin with key molding institutes to validate the material’s performance. Completed mold trials demonstrate that e-PerForm resin, with high stiffness and high temperature performance, behaves similarly to stereolithography resin Somos PerForm for injection molding tooling.

Tests done by Polyvia, the French Federation of Plastics and Composites, confirm the suitability for rapid tooling. Guy Chrétien, Process project manager at Polyvia, said: “We tested the new e-PerForm resin printed on the EnvisionTec P4K printer and demonstrated that we could achieve very good results in part fidelity and in the number of shots molded in both polypropylene and glass-reinforced nylon. With the cost effectiveness and print speed of the P4k platform and with the properties of the e-PerForm resin, this creates additional opportunities for rapid tooling.” Learn more about their testing on Polyvia’s website.

Al Siblani, EnvisionTec CEO, said: “The combination of our P4K printer and Covestro e-PerForm optimized for our printers enables fast, cost-effective production of injection molding tooling. Our collaboration has resulted in a new and much-needed solution.”

Hugo da Silva, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Covestro, said: “By working closely with our partner EnvisionTec, we developed a material that meets critical needs voiced in the market: improved dimensional stability and minimal warpage for optimal functionality. The validation and proven solution with their P4K printers will help accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing of injection mold tooling.”

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