An important step forward for the company, the investment reinforces Essentium’s existing relationships with BASF and Materialise that seek to develop HSE materials and introduce an open market model for 3D printing.
Sven Thate, BASF Venture Capital investment manager, comments:
“Unleashing and accelerating the potential of additive manufacturing for our customers is a priority for BASF. Our investment, together with the strategic market partnership BASF has with Essentium, advances this strategy.”
A supercharged 3D printing process
Headquartered in College Station, east Texas, Essentium specializes in the development and provision of additive manufacturing materials and processes.
In materials, the company primarily produces filaments, for general use in polymer processing and more specifically for the company’s proprietary FlashFuse technology.
FlashFuse is a method of “FDM electric welding.” In this technique, the electric charge of plasma is harnessed to improve 3D printed part strength across the Z axis. The added electric charge also dramatically boosts the time taken to heat the extrusion nozzle. According to the company, FlashFuse has “the ability to heat the nozzle from 20°C to 600°C in less than three seconds.”
HSE is the name of Essentium’s additive manufacturing machines implementing FlashForge technology. Publicly announced in April 2018, the current HSE 180•S reports print speeds of up to 10x faster than industrial competition. The system was tipped for release in Q4 2018. Customers can still reserve the system on the company’s website.
Eliminating the barriers to adoption
According to Materialise CTO Bart Van der Schueren, “Materialise, Essentium and BASF share a vision for growth in the 3D printing industry.” The partnership between the three companies was confirmed in November 2018, and the shared vision, put simply, is increasing adoption of 3D printing through “offering users more control, more choice in materials and ultimately lower cost and higher volumes.”
Speaking in relation to the Series A funding round Blake Teipel, co-founder and CEO of Essentium, comments, “Industrial additive manufacturing is ripe for transformation. The problem/solution paradigm is made clear through independent research we commissioned among executives in industrial manufacturing where 100% of respondents reported obstacles in using 3D printing for large scale production, and 88% stated that their industries will save billions of dollars in production costs when the barriers are eliminated,”
“Eliminating these barriers is what Essentium is delivering on.”
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Featured image shows inside the HSE 180•S. Photo via Essentium.