Evonik has acquired a minority stake in Chinese company UnionTech through its Venture Capital unit. The Shanghai-based company is active in the field of stereolithography 3D printing.
This additive manufacturing technology makes it possible, to produce highly accurate and detailed polymer parts.
“We expect great technical advances in the field of stereolithography. Evonik is preparing the launch of ready-to-use materials for this process,” said Bernhard Mohr, head of Evonik’s Venture Capital unit. “Our investment is therefore not only aimed at a profitable financial return but above all at new insights in the use of this process.”
Evonik expects accelerated market access for the new photopolymer products, especially in the very fast-growing Chinese market, Mohr said.
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.
“With the coming up introduction of the new products and the current participation in UnionTech, we are expanding our activities as a reliable partner of the industry in the development and manufacturing of high-performance materials for 3D printing to strengthen our business activities along the important photopolymer technology,” Grosse-Puppendahl said.
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.
Evonik has invested in multiple companies in the field of additive manufacturing to support the development of this industry.