Evonik buying 3D printing material specialist

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Photo by Evonik

Specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries AG is acquiring a Texas-based maker of powered polymers used in 3D printing.

The deal for Structured Polymers Inc. of Austin provides Evonik "access to a new patented technology that will allow the company to expand its portfolio of specialty polymer powders in the additive manufacturing market," the company said.

The move comes after a venture capital investment in Structured Polymers in 2017.

"The new technology allows us to take virtually any semi-crystalline thermoplastic, such as polybutylene terephthalate, polyetherketone or [nylon 6] or polymer powders with specialised properties like colour, conductivity or flame protection, and produce them for common powder-based 3D printing processes," Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, head of the Evonik's additive manufacturing innovation growth field, said in a statement.

Those processes include selective laser sintering, high-speed sintering and multijet fusion, he indicated.

Structured Polymers has technology to convert polymer granulate into fine powder of extremely small sizes — from a 10th of a micrometer to 400 micrometers.

"The acquisition of Structured Polymers' technology excellently complements our existing activities with high-performance polymers for additive manufacturing," said Ralph Marquardt, head of strategy and growth businesses for the company's Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH unit.

The new owner indicated Structured Polymers' approach can be "easily and economically" scaled up.

Essen, Germany-based Evonik sees opportunity in the 3D printing market, which the company said is experiencing double-digit growth.

In the 3D printing market, the company already makes nylon 12 powers used in additive production technologies as well as polyetheretherketone filament.

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