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Huntsman and 3D Printing Firm DWS Create Footwear-Friendly ‘Rubber-Like’ Resin

The Huntsman Corporation continues to invest in its 3D-printing platform Iroprint, partnering with precision stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing firm and polyurethane provider DWS to produce a new rubber-like material for footwear, dubbed the Iroprint R 1801 resin.

The new, polyurethane-based resin is “soft, flexible and easy to print,” Huntsman, a chemical manufacturer, said. A combination of elasticity and strength, mixed with a high-sheen surface, means the Iroprint R 1801 resin has applications in footwear, sports equipment and anything that needs to have “the look and feel of rubber.”

“This announcement is the culmination of more than two years of close cooperation between DWS and Huntsman—and is our first collaboration in the field of radiation curing 3D printing,” Stephane Peysson, global business development manager with Huntsman, said. “This is also the first time that DWS has teamed up with a major polyurethane provider, taking advantage of our world-class equipment, technology and people.”

DWS worked closely with Huntsman chemical engineers to develop the new resin in order to ensure it was optimized for SLA printing and a variety of manufacturing environments, Huntsman said. Iroprint R 1801 removes the need for “costly curing processes” once printing has been completed, Huntsman added.

“With the development of Iroprint R 1801 resin for SLA, DWS and Huntsman have created a manufacturing solution that will help ease the adoption of 3D printing processes into the manufacturing environment for the creation of a multitude of industrial, rubber-like products, including, specifically, footwear and sports equipment,” Maurizio Costabeber, the chief technology officer at DWS, said.

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“As a well-established player in SLA, we produce a large range of our own materials for 3D-printing,” Costabeber added. “Working with Huntsman, though, we sped up the development of a joint solution, which avoids the post-processing complexities of other existing methods, while delivering—at the same time—the desired result in terms of surface quality and definition on finished products.”

In July, Huntsman launched Iroprint with three separate additives to kickstart its work in the 3D-printing footwear industry. The Iroprint R line was designed to be a “soft, durable, one-component liquid resin” system for use with both SLA and digital light processing. Iroprint P was Huntsman’s high-performance polyurethane powder for high-speed sintering printing (HSS) while Iroprint F is the company’s filament-based material for high-performance thermoplastic polyurethane products.

“As we build our 3D printing ecosystem, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with DWS, a highly innovative, pragmatic and focused company,” Peysson added, noting how the two companies are “both aligned in our commitment to furthering the adoption of 3D printing in mass manufacturing.”