Tie-ups: Mitsubishi Chemical/AM Polymers to develop PBT powder for 3D printing; BASF and GACNE extend partnership to apply digital automotive coatings solutions in China

Mitsubishi Chemical/AM Polymers to develop PBT powder for 3D printing

Japanese firm Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) and German new materials start-up company AM Polymers GmbH (AMP) have entered into a joint development and commercial partnership agreement on polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) powder product for industrial 3D printing.

Located in Willich, Germany, AMP specialises in producing and selling thermoplastic powders with “Plug & Play” processability and part performance for selective laser sintering (SLS) and powder bed fusion (PBF) processes. Through this partnership, both parties are jointly developing new powder products for industrial additive manufacturing from PBT feedstock, specially optimised based on MCC’s chemical expertise. A beta version of Rolaserit PBT01 powder will be soon unveiled in Europe for client evaluation.

This partnership provides MCC and AMP an opportunity to further expand their product portfolio for 3D printing. SLS/PBF is a process by which users can achieve complex geometries at short production lead time. Coupled with good mechanical properties, PBT powder has much lower moisture absorption characteristics than polyamide 12, a common material for SLS/PBF. Thus, MCC and AMP expect new PBT powder products to be used for industrial applications, such as automotive and aerospace. This new partnership enables MCC and AMP to further accelerate growth in the 3D printing area.

AM Polymers is located in Willich, Germany and was founded in 2014 to develop, produce and sell thermoplastic powders for 3D printing.

BASF and GACNE extend partnership to apply digital automotive coatings solutions in China

Meanwhile in other news, chemical firm BASF and one of the leading automotive manufacturers in China, Guangzhou Automobile Group New Energy Co. Ltd. (GACNE), a subsidiary of GAC, are to further strengthen their strategic partnership to explore digital coatings solutions for the automotive industry. Launched in China for the first time, the new platform will support paint shops to improve quality and enhance efficiency.

Under this cooperation agreement, BASF will provide a digital platform that enables GACNE to digitalise and integrate initially scattered data, and to measure its data readiness and maturity through data analysis. BASF’s digital platform will be customised to focus on improvement of GACNE’s paint shop operations and decision making with more efficient ways of data reporting, processing and analysing. BASF experts have provided training sessions to GACNE’s users of the platform. Further modules and solutions can be added and customized based on GACNE’s feedback and evolving digital needs.

Since starting their collaboration, BASF has supported GACNE to launch its paint shop and provided technical expertise, including comprehensive colour development and paint shop management. BASF has become the 100% coating supplier of GACNE since then, including e-coat, primer, basecoat and clear coat. The portfolio also includes digital solutions for quality and efficiency improvement of the whole coating process, based on the automotive industry’s challenges and digital needs.

“We are excited to embark on the path of digitalisation with GACNE, an innovative and pioneering partner,” said Patrick Zhao, Senior Vice President, BASF Coatings Solutions Asia Pacific. “Digitalisation is one of BASF’s strategic levers and has become an integral part of our coatings business. With this collaboration, we not only create a new customer experience for GACNE, but also grow our mutual business through new business models and eventually enhance our overall competitiveness and efficiency.”

“Digitalisation and smart manufacturing are key concepts when we designed and built the plant. Digitalisation level will be a KPI to evaluate our company’s performance,” said Xi Zhongmin, Vice General Manager of GACNE. “BASF has been GACNE’s trusted partner since 2018, and we are the first OEM to utilise total-layer coating solution from BASF. I look forward to further cooperation in new technologies and other digital solutions between the two companies.”

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd (GAC) was established in 1997 and has set up joint ventures with multiple international partners, located across Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hubei and Xinjiang in China. The company produces passenger and commercial vehicles, engines, car parts, car accessories, motorcycles and parts, and conducts research in automotive engineering technology. GAC owns two brands: Trumpchi, and Aion – an electric car brand under GACNE, one of the leading new energy vehicle manufacturers in China.


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