On 17 January 2019, Evonik announced that it has acquired Structured Polymers Inc., a technology startup for 3D printing materials headquartered in Austin, TX, USA. A corresponding agreement and plan of merger was executed and the transaction has been closed recently.
The acquisition will provide Evonik access to a new patented technology that will allow the company to expand its portfolio of speciality polymer powders in the additive manufacturing market. Structured Polymers’ 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 ranging in diameter between 0.1 µm and 400 µm, while achieving good material properties.
“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 specialised properties like colour, 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,” said Thomas Grosse-Puppendahl, the head of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Growth Field at Evonik. “In addition, we anticipate that Structured Polymers’ technology can be scaled up easily and economically.”
“The acquisition of Structured Polymers’ technology excellently 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 customised, 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.”
Structured Polymers will be entirely integrated into Evonik’s North American organisation, while its company headquarters will remain in Austin. “We are very pleased to harness the power of Evonik to expand our innovative technology platform even further. 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,” said Vikram Devarajan, CEO of Structured Polymers Inc. Evonik already laid the foundations for an acquisition of the technology startup in the fall of 2017 through a venture capital investment.
According to Evonik, the 3D printing market is booming with double-digit growth rates. Within this market, Evonik is a leading manufacturer of PA 12 powders, which have been used in additive production technologies for over 20 years. In addition to its PEEK filament and PA 12 powders, the company’s product portfolio also includes flexible PEBA powders and a wide array of additives such as dispersing agents, flow enhancers, and reactive modifiers.