For the study , the consultants surveyed 220 decision-makers from the chemical industry, among whom there was little doubt that the market for 3D printing is set to grow strongly. Some of the reasons stated for this were the emergence of new markets, improved printing technologies, and the progression of knowledge within the industry. Yet, just 40% of the chemical companies surveyed believe that this will have a significant impact on their product portfolio, prices, competitiveness, or innovations. “Unless companies revise their approaches here, they’ll end up losing out on important business,” warns Dr. Josef Packowski, Managing Partner at CAMELOT .
The study was supplemented by in-depth interviews with 3D printing experts from the chemical industry, such as Tobias Caspari, Head of Heraeus Additive Manufacturing , who believes we are going to see disproportionate growth in new and specialty materials like precious metals or amorphous metals. However, the consultants also conclude that 3D printing makes sense for chemical companies only in market segments in which value chain stages can be skipped and the system costs along the value chain are lower than in the current status quo.
BASF at least cannot be accused of overlooking 3D printing. As the company and BigRep announced at the end of February 2018, the two have concluded a strategic partnership agreement. Startup company BigRep builds what it claims to be the word’s biggest series-production 3D printers . The objective of the cooperation is to jointly develop additive manufacturing solutions for industrial applications, including the enhancement of materials and printers to meet industrial customer requirements. Back in fall 2017, BASF outsourced its 3D printing division to its new Group company BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH , and soon after announced a series of partnerships with, among others, Ricoh , Xaar , and SLS (selective laser sintering) market leader EOS .