Global chemical company Huntsman Corp. will put a focus on additive manufacturing and the needs of a growing, but still young, branch of the plastics industry during K 2019 this year in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Stephane Peysson, global business development manager at Huntsman polyurethanes said during a K preview event July 3 that the company has developed a new range of additive manufacturing materials which will officially launch at the show, and be marketed under the brand name Iroprint.
The new additive manufacturing platform is "technology agnostic," Peysson said, and contains three different kinds of urethane-based materials — resins, powders and filaments — which can be 3D printed using a variety of additive manufacturing methods including stereolithography (SLA), high speed sintering (HSS) and fused filament fabrication (FFF).
The company is initially targeting the global footwear and sports industry, where a trend for 3D printing for both customized and mass manufactured shoes is unfolding. All three Iroprint lines — Iroprint R resins, Iroprint P powders and Iroprint F filaments — have been optimized for the production of footwear components. Longer-term, Huntsman, based in The Woodlands, Texas, plans to roll out its Iroprint additive manufacturing platform out across a much wider range of applications and industries.
The idea in developing the platform, Peysson said, was to adopt a holistic approach and build an ecosystem to sort out current issues confronting additive manufacturing, including the processability and affordability of the materials.
"The footwear market is extremely cost sensitive," he said.
The new materials are easy to use and print, offering advanced abrasion resistance, elongation and tear strength. For radiation-cured forms of printing such as SLA or DLP, Iroprint R resins also offer a long pot life and quick cure capabilities.
Also, ahead of the launch of the materials, the company has been building relationships with key technology partners, who in turn work with some of the "biggest footwear brands in the world," Peysson said when he unveiled the new platform.
"Further down the line we see huge opportunities for our Iroprint additive manufacturing materials in other sectors of the 3D printing market, from components for the automotive industry to objects for Internet of Things (IoT) applications," he said.
At K 2019, Huntsman will be located in Hall 8a, Stand 22.