Forward AM and HP Broaden Industrial Partnership to Advance Digital Manufacturing

August 04, 2020 by Ben Stepanian

Forward AM, a 3D print solution company developed by BASF, a material science company has partnered with HP to advance digital manufacturing to change and accelerate industries.

With an increase in innovation in the industrial sector, leading companies like HP are now specializing in additive manufacturing. Forward AM was developed to specialize in additive manufacturing materials and to focus on developing plastics, metals, and other materials to integrate into modern manufacturing.

The goal of these companies' collaboration is to make way for next-level industrial manufacturing. “HP and Forward AM by BASF share a deep commitment to accelerating the shift to digital manufacturing by delivering innovative, sustainable solutions and materials that open up entirely new opportunities”, says Ramon Pastor, Interim President of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing, HP Inc.

Pastor believes that combining 3D printing capabilities with materials science is the only way to yield reliability and consistent quality. “From advanced prototyping to the production of final parts, we are excited about the impact this new PP (polypropylene) will have for designers, engineers, and businesses around the world.”


Latest 3D Printing Material

Forward AM has developed a filament composed of polypropylene or PP. This material, which is used in HP’s Jet Fusion 5200 series printer, is a reusable, dimensionally accurate, and cost-effective material that can be used in most applications. The ability to utilize sustainable solutions in the additive manufacturing industry proves that other methods of manufacturing will eventually be rendered obsolete.


HP’s Jet Fusion 5200 series printer. Image courtesy of HP.


This material is a powder used for powder bed fusion style printing. The material is deposited and fused into the desired pattern and displays exceptional properties for plastic parts like a tensile strength of 28 Mpa, a young's modulus of 1400 Mpa, and a 30% plastic elongation before component failure. This material is rendered to be recycled at a rate of  70%. The material also features good ductility which allows the production of parts used in thermal applications like ducting.


New Developments in Additive Manufacturing 

Since this industry is constantly accelerating and quite literally manufacturing itself, HP and its partners are on course to develop additive manufacturing parts with different colors. They also are constantly developing the industry to make it more sustainable and ethical for product development. Evidently these efforts reduce the cost and turn around times for prototypes being produced.

The new digital age and additive manufacturing capabilities create better solutions for creating parts that would otherwise require expensive tooling, and development for that tooling. Injection molding for a part such as a wiper fluid tank in a car requires far more effort and energy into creating. 3D printing as an alternative for this type of part requires less energy, waste, and turn around time. 


Forward AM Materials. Image courtesy of Forward AM.


This new implementation opens doors for more diverse material and tooling development in the additive manufacturing industry. “The introduction of new materials such as PP enables us to quickly and cost-effectively design, iterate and produce innovative new 3D printed parts for customers across industries. We expect a fast ramp up of entirely new applications that leverage the inherent advantages that 3D printing provides for automakers, home and commercial appliances and the medical industry,”says Matthias Weißkopf, Senior Vice President for Research and Development, Oechsler AG.


Industry 4.0 in Full Swing

HP’s 3D printers can now be found on their website. These printers are available as industrial tools are compatible with materials like PP and others from Forward AM. HP and companies running alongside it have pioneered their way into the future. Completely new methods and standards are required to be successful in this industrial revolution.

Partnerships like this one, between HP and Forward AM, are crucial in optimizing new manufacturing methods. New employment opportunities in the creation of these new tools and materials have skyrocketed in the past five years and will continue to grow.