Video: How a Materials Company is Driving the Additive Manufacturing Market Forward
James Anderton posted on May 11, 2018 |

Are today’s additive manufacturing materials keeping pace with the development of the machine technology?

To answer that question, we spoke to Hugo DaSilva, VP of additive manufacturing at DSM.

“We are in the beginning of the journey,” said Hugo. “We’ve been exploring a lot of materials in the SLA side, and how to expand that portfolio for SLS, FDM, Inkjet, and other platforms that might come along. The biggest limitation now on the industry might be the number of materials available.”

According to DaSilva, the diversity of materials in today’s market is low:  Nylon and TPU variants are common, but DSM sees potential in higher-level engineering materials, like PA 66/6, PBT, and PA-410.

Additive manufacturing is only as viable as the material its parts are made from—and with a more robust selection of polymers, including those with features like flame retardancy, temperature resistance, and glass- or -carbon fiber-filled materials.

Increasing the availability of truly useful materials is sure to drive adoption of additive manufacturing in the production space. Another way is to focus on applications and areas where today’s additive technology can outperform traditional processes, such as:

  • generative design
  • rapid prototyping
  • extreme lightweighting
  • part count consolidation
  • mass customization

“We’ve been in the materials market for many years, in injection molding, so we understand well some of the applications and verticals,” said DaSilva.  By focusing on applications where cutting edge additive materials are needed, knowledge and experience with the latest additive possibilities spreads through the manufacturing industry—driving adoption.

DSM focuses on four application verticals:

  • Transportation, including aerospace and automotive
  • Healthcare, primarily medical and dental
  • Sports and Lifestyle, focusing on footwear and consumer goods
  • Tools and Electronics

“We have chemistry that can solve problems in different verticals, so we decided to split by four segment teams, allowing each segment to go to one of these verticals and work almost independently from each other to build this application knowledge and help push the industry forward,” said DaSilva.

For more videos from our Additive Manufacturing Expert series, you can subscribe to our Additive Manufacturing Experts YouTube playlist.

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