Roboze forms alliance with Polymertal for metal plating of 3D printed parts

An antenna part coated in copper to achieve electrical conductivity (before coating on the left and after on the right)

Roboze—an Italian manufacturer of fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers and materials—has formed an alliance with Israeli company Polymertal for the metal plating of 3D printed parts.

Under the terms of the alliance, Polymertal—a specialist in bonding, coating and plating plastic parts in metal—will purchase Roboze’s flagship product, the Roboze One+400 industrial 3D printer. The company will customize its metal plating process for application to parts made on the printer from Roboze’s metal replacement techno-polymers, namely polyether ether ketone (PEEK), polyetherimide (PEI) and carbon polyamide (PA).

Polymertal’s vision is to produce metal plated plastic parts, referred to as hybrid products, that can replace traditional metal parts in advanced industrial applications. It is believed that these hybrid products will offer decisive advantages over traditional metal parts, such as:

  • a reduction in weight of up to 70 percent;
  • a reduction in time-to-market of up to 50 percent; and
  • a reduction in costs of up to 30 percent.

The plating process will involve improving the 3D printed parts’ surfaces and then plating them, making sure that both excellent adhesion and electrical conductivity are attained.  

The 3D printing industry is shifting its focus from prototyping to manufacturing, and the ability to print metal replacement techno-polymers using Roboze’s FFF technology has already attracted the attention of many large, global manufacturers. The combination of Roboze’s techno-polymers and Polymertal’s metal plating process is expected to further increase the spectrum of advanced industrial applications for 3D printed parts.

The companies anticipate that hybrid products will be suitable for use in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive and medical.

Gil Lavi, vice president (VP) of global sales and business development at Roboze, said: ‘The collaboration with Polymertal increases the value of Roboze advanced materials solutions, taking them a step further towards metal replacement applications. For the foreseeable future, integrating 3D printing in manufacturing will be with plastic and metal technologies, therefore hybrid products will offer greater benefits compared [with] traditional metal manufacturing techniques.’

Ran Carmeli, chief executive officer (CEO) of Polymertal, further commented: ‘We are excited to collaborate with Roboze on developing this innovation concept. The market is looking for hybrid products and we believe that our joint work with Roboze will support this vision.’

Websites: www.roboze.com and www.polymertal.com