Stratasys Expands AM Boundaries with Covestro Acquisition

Covestro’s materials portfolio opens doors to new 3D printing applications across a variety of industries.

Covestro’s materials portfolio opens doors to new 3D printing applications across a variety of industries.

Automotive air vent prototypes 3D printed with Somos WaterShed Black resin on Neo450 3D printers from Stratasys. Image Courtesy of Stratasys

Stratasys is taking a multi-layered approach to expanding potential use cases for additive manufacturing, pushing the envelope with new 3D printing systems and more recently, by finalizing the acquisition of Covestro, which opens up new possibilities in the area of materials.

Covestro’s materials, IP portfolio, and talent will help Stratasys gain a leg up in new applications in key technology categories such as stereolithography, P3/DLP, and powder bed fusion, including SAF, the secret sauce behind the H Series Production Platform, which is designed for production-level throughput of end-use parts. SAF uses HAF infrared absorption fluid to fuse particles of polymer powder together in layers to build parts, and proprietary powder management capabilities ensure reliable powder distribution across the build—one step of a 3D printing process tuned for accurate and consistent production at competitive part costs.

For its part, Covestro brings an expansive materials portfolio and industry expertise working with OEMs across a range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, dental, medical, footwear, investment casting, among others “cooking in our kitchen,” says Hugo da Silva, previously vice president of Covestro Additive Manufacturing and now vice president, of strategy, M&A, and Venturing at Stratasys. Covestro’s material portfolio for photopolymers will be available under the SOMOS brand aimed at Stratasys’ P3/DLP and SL(Neo) offerings in addition to thermoplastics, which will be made available under the Adigy brand and serve the SAF technology.

“The knowledge of many years serving those industries, along with other technologies like injection molding, allows our team to have a good understanding of the gaps from technologies being used now and how additive manufacturing can address those challenges,” da Silva says.

On top of that, Covestro has hundreds of patents, is steeped in new technology development, and has a very experienced material science team. “These additions will help to further advance developments on the same platforms as well as support platform partners with the goal of developing materials that fit use cases and that help solve current challenges of AM customers,” da Silva adds.

The acquisition includes R&D facilities and activities, global development and sales teams across Europe, the United States, and Asia, as well as the portfolio of approximately 60 AM materials. Stratasys will leverage its sales, service, and support infrastructure to market the Covestro AM materials.

The acquisition gives Stratasys a complete offering, in photopolymers as well as in thermoplastics with Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and SAF. “Stratasys now has all five printing polymers technology with hardware, software, and materials,” da Silva explains. “This allows us to assess the challenges of the applications and use cases and together with customers, decide on the best fit technology to solve their problem.”

Moreover, having access to an expansive materials portfolio enables Stratasys’ to expand its footprint into new manufacturing markets.  “Whether it’s flame, heat, and smoke resistant materials for aerospace, new biocompatible materials for medical applications, or resilient materials with ESD properties for electric vehicles, we know that the more we bring new materials innovations to market as part of use case solutions, the more we can transform how everything is manufactured around the world,” said daSilva in a prepared statement.

In other Stratasys news, Stratasys reiterated its commitment to staying independent. Earlier this month, the company’s board of directors unanimously rejected the “unsolicited proposal” by Nano Dimension to acquire the company.

To learn more on Stratasys’ SAF technology, check out this video.

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Beth Stackpole

Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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