Wacker Chemie AG will open a U.S.-based 3D printing lab later this year, expanding its Aceo printing services for silicone rubber.
The new facility, to be located at Wacker's research and development center for silicones in Ann Arbor, Mich., will be the company's first regional 3D printing lab outside of Germany, according to a Wacker news release. Wacker has set aside a single-digit million-dollar amount for the investment.
The facility comes in response to growing demand for additive manufacturing solutions in North America, Munich-based Wacker said in a news release. The new lab will have two 3D printers, able to process a range of silicone rubber with different Shore A hardnesses and various colors, including FVMQ grades.
North America is the largest and most dynamic market for 3D printing, and the new lab will provide local access to liquid silicone rubber customers, said Bernd Pachaly, head of the Aceo 3D printing project at Wacker. The new facility will expand the company's footprint in North America and build its global service network.
The Ann Arbor facility also will complement the company's Burghausen, Germany, 3D printing facility, and offer technical service and advice to local customers. It will run projects involving medical devices and components for health care, transportation, aerospace and electronics, Pachaly said.