Henkel and InterPRO Additive Manufacturing, a service bureau based in Connecticut, are expanding their partnership to drive the adoption of 3D printing solutions in industrial markets. As part of the collaboration, InterPRO will serve as an application development partner, accelerating the commercialization process for large opportunities in additive manufacturing.
“We are delighted to announce the expansion of our collaboration with InterPRO,” said Simon Mawson, Ph.D., senior vice president and global head of 3D Printing at Henkel. “With decades of development experience, InterPRO has a deep knowledge in adopting additive manufacturing to reduce the time and cost to engineer, test and manufacture new products. In combination with Henkel’s leading portfolio of photopolymer materials we aim to further accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing for the production of industrial parts. Over the past two years, we have already worked collaboratively to test new materials, onboard new applications, and convert production work to digital light processing (DLP) based 3D printing technologies.”
“The initial collaboration with InterPRO was very successful and promising,” said Cindy Deekitwong, global head of marketing for Henkel’s Incubator Businesses. “The Distek application is a great example. Together we were able to help a medical device company leverage additive manufacturing to produce the high-quality, low-volume parts they needed. Building on that foundation, we aim to open new opportunities for many more customers across industries.”
Henkel has longstanding experience in material chemistry. The company asserts that its line of Loctite branded photopolymer 3D printing materials is positioned to address the needs of customers in many markets. Among other attributes, its materials offer similar strength characteristics compared to fused deposition modeling (FDM) processes with a smoother surface finish, making them suitable for use in industrial production, according to Henkel. Unlike older resin-based technologies, Henkel reports that the printed parts maintain their mechanical properties over time without becoming brittle or changing color.
For more than two decades, InterPRO has offered an array of additive manufacturing services, utilizing many different technologies including FDM, multi-jet fusion and large-format stereolithography. In recent years, the company also began offering DLP 3D printing on the Origin P3 printer, enabling InterPRO to fully leverage the materials portfolio from Henkel.
“We have learned over the years that asking our clients to adopt new processes and materials requires a cohesive ecosystem of printers, service and material partners,” said Dan Straka, president of InterPRO. “Henkel has come to the market with an incredible range of engineered materials that push the boundaries of what photo-cured thermosets have typically offered in the past. Between the advanced materials and support, InterPRO has been able to deliver production worthy, customer facing parts that rival traditional methods of production.”
With advancements in DLP technology and Henkel’s portfolio of photopolymer resins, more and more industrial customers are considering 3D printing as a viable alternative to traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding and CNC machining. Among its advantages, additive manufacturing’s lower upfront cost reduces risk. Without having to pay for expensive tooling, companies can afford to green-light more ideas and produce small batch parts for niche applications.
As an application development partner, InterPRO will assist Henkel in developing new production applications in the medical, consumer, industrial, and aerospace markets. Customers will benefit from InterPRO’s knowledge and experience in the additive manufacturing industry. The service bureau will provide engineering services, including Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM), in addition to production and finishing services, helping qualify each application from concept to finished part.
“We’re excited to grow our relationship with Henkel as an Application Development Partner,” Straka added. “Our complimentary skills and expertise will better enable both companies to support our clients’ increasing needs in this unprecedented time of challenges and risks.”