Evonik expands portfolio of polymers for 3D-printing with acquisition of Structured Polymers

by: Clare Goldsberry Materials 3D Printing, Business January 21, 2019

Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany) announced it has acquired Structured Polymers Inc., a U.S. startup headquartered in Austin, TX. The acquisition will provide Evonik with access to a new patented technology that will expand its portfolio of specialty polymer powders in the additive manufacturing market, according to information from Evonik.

“The acquisition of Structured Polymers’ technology complements our existing activities with high-performance polymers for additive manufacturing,” said Dr. Ralph Marquardt, the head of Strategy and Growth Businesses for Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH. “Thanks to our decades of expertise in polymer chemistry, this means we will expand our portfolio of customized, ready-to-use polymer materials for the highly attractive, rapidly growing 3D-printing market, thus giving us a key role in shaping development of that market.”

Founded in 2012 to innovate and commercialize new polymer powders for additive manufacturing processes, including HP’s Multi Jet Fusion and selective laser sintering, Structured Polymers will be integrated into Evonik’s North American organization. The company headquarters will remain in Austin, TX.

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Evonik laid the foundation for an acquisition of the tech startup in the fall of 2017 through a venture capital investment.

“We are very pleased to harness the power of Evonik to expand our innovative technology platform even further,” said Vikram Devarajan, CEO of Structured Polymers. “In the near future, this will allow us to diversify the 3D-printing materials market to a significant degree and to work with our customers on developing new business opportunities.”

Structured Polymers’ innovative technology starts with a polymer granulate, which is converted to a fine powder through various process steps. This makes it possible to produce polymer powders with controlled particle sizes in diameters from 0.1 to 400 microns, while achieving excellent material properties.

Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, head of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Growth Field at Evonik, explained: “The new technology allows us to take virtually any semi-crystalline thermoplastic, such as polybutylene terephthalate, polyether ketone or polyamide 6 or polymer powders with specialized properties like color, conductivity or flame protection and produce them for common powder-based 3D-printing processes, such as selective laser sintering, high-speed sintering or Multi Jet Fusion. In addition, we anticipate that Structured Polymers’ technology can be scaled up easily and economically.”

The 3D printing market is booming with double-digit growth rates, said Evonik. Within this market, Evonik lays claim to being the world’s leading manufacturer of polyamide (PA) 12 powders, which have been used in additive production technologies for more than 20 years. In addition to its PEEK filament and PA 12 powders, the company’s product portfolio also includes flexible PEBA powders and an array of additives such as dispersing agents, flow enhancers and reactive modifiers.