BASF expands in 3D printing with new acquisition

German chemicals manufacturer BASF announced last week that it will acquire 3D printing company Innofil3D.

A 3D printer uses filament to fabricate and object. Image courtesy of Wikipedia - Z22.
A 3D printer uses filament to fabricate and object. Image courtesy of Wikipedia – Z22.

In a statement, BASF announced that it would acquire 100% of the company, and in doing so increase its portfolio of 3D-printing-related materials.

Innofil3D is a Netherlands-based producer of filament used by many 3D printers. Their filaments come in a range of colors and types, with some even made from recycled material.

Specifically, these thermoplastic filaments are used in a kind of 3D printing called ‘fused filament fabrication’ (FFF).

In FFF the quality of the end product is not just determined by the accuracy and correct function of the printer, but also the quality of the filaments used, making the use of high-end raw material useful for additive manufacturers.

Unlike other kinds of 3D printing, FFF is well-suited to mass manufacturing and can be used to produce a large number of items at a relatively rapid pace.

“With this acquisition, BASF is moving one step further along the value chain and can now provide not only plastic granulate for 3D printing but also the next processing level: the filaments,” said Volker Hammes, Managing Director at BASF New Business.

Innofil3D will reportedly continue its work more or less unchanged in the short-term under its new leadership.

This acquisition comes as BASF seeks to increase its portfolio of 3D printing-related products. With manufacturing likely to move away from molded plastic in the coming decades, the company is likely looking to position itself well for the future.

“Following the recently announced establishment of BASF 3D Printing Solutions, based in Heidelberg, Germany, this is another important step in strengthening our 3D business,” explained Hammes.

A recent report has stated that the global 3D printing market would grow to $32.78bn by 2023, with the market for printing material included in this figure.

Currently, there is no publicly available information regarding exactly how much BASF paid to purchase Innofil3D.