SABIC, a global supplier of engineering thermoplastics, recently announced the company’s strategic plan to expand investment in its product portfolio and operations, as well as additive manufacturing technology.
SABIC has been involved in several notable projects involving additive technologies including last year’s creation of the first-ever fully functional 3D Printed vehicle, Strati, and the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) printer used to print the world’s first 3D-printed vehicle.
We caught up with Tony Cerruti, Director, Americas Industrial Marketing for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business to learn more about SABIC’s planned investment in additive technologies, along with the company’s recent presence at the International Plastics Showcase, NPE2015, in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.
AMazing®: Tony, thank you for your participation. SABICS’s recent announcement to strategically expand investment in its product portfolio and operations, as well as additive manufacturing technology is exciting. How will SABIC’s investments help customers assess additive manufacturing and implement the technology appropriately?
Tony Cerruti: We’re also very excited about the opportunity to help our customers take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing technologies. Recently, we worked on a project for the lighting industry – searching for innovation and efficiencies in luminaire design and production. Using predictive engineering and 3D printing technology, we created an integrated thermoplastics LED luminaire which highlighted the opportunity to reduce parts by 84%, weight by 24% and assembly time by 65%, compared to a conventional metal luminaire. This has been a great case study to help our customers understand how using additive manufacturing technology can quickly turn an insightful idea into a real potential cost competitive solution for their industry.
SABIC’s broad portfolio of high performance materials, our design and processing expertise and the state-of-the-art equipment we have located in our application development centers enable us to work closely with technology innovators, including universities, research laboratories, printer manufacturers, OEMs and emerging technology companies. This collaborative work will allow us to help accelerate the necessary advancements for additive manufacturing to move from a prototyping technology to a viable part production option for our customers.
AMazing®: In a recent SABIC press release, six key capabilities were identified as key to converting industry and customers insights into solutions: Collaborative Innovation, Concept Generation, Material Science and Chemistry, Process Technology, Design/Predictive Engineering and Sustainability, and Life Cycle Management. In view of this holistic approach, how important is it to involve SABIC in the early stages of product development? How did this approach contribute to the success of the first-ever fully functional 3D-printed vehicle, Strati, as well as the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) printer used to print the world’s first 3D-printed vehicle?
Tony Cerruti: It is very important for SABIC to be involved in the early stages of our customers’ projects – starting with the generation of ideas to help solve unmet needs. Our expertise in various material and processing options, offered early on in the development process, can help them to design and produce an end product with the functional performance they desire, with optimized costs and with an accelerated development cycle. In the case of the Strati – we worked with Cincinnati Inc. and Oakridge National Labs on material selection and process optimization for the concept vehicle, enabling Local Motors to print the world’s first 3D printed vehicle using large format 3D printing technology.
AMazing®: Would you please talk to us about SABIC’s current portfolio of materials for additive technologies? What materials are currently available for additive manufacturing? Are there any new materials in development? How will the company’s strategic plan to expand investment in material offerings meet the growing needs for more and better material options?
Tony Cerruti: We have a number of materials currently used in additive manufacturing technologies. The Strati vehicle was printed using our THERMOCOMP™ material – a carbon fiber reinforced compound using our CYCOLAC™ resin, which provides excellent strength to weight ratio and high stiffness required to minimize warping during the printing process. We also have ULTEM™ resins which can meet flame, smoke and toxicity requirements, commonly used in aerospace applications. CYCOLAC MG94 resin is an ABS material frequently used by the maker community. Leveraging our global application development centers around the world to expand our focus on additive manufacturing technologies including FDM®, SLS and BAAM (big area additive manufacturing), we will continue to expand our portfolio of 3D printing solutions to help our customers achieve improved part performance, enable design freedom, enhance part aesthetics and provide more economical part yields.
AMazing®: As we understand SABIC attended the recent NPE 2015 Conference, Orlando, Florida. Based upon attendee and customer feedback what notable industry trends are foreseeable?
Tony Cerruti: For additive manufacturing to reach its full potential as a manufacturing process for customers, we believe the industry will require:
- A process that is able to produce parts which are approaching the performance of injection molding – and this will require materials which are designed specifically for 3D printing.
- A broader range of material availability, including materials with the same properties and features that are available today with other conversion technologies, ex. flame retardant, UV stabilized, FDA approved, etc.
- An economic build opportunity – reduced material costs, increased print speeds and reduced secondary operations.
Additionally, OEMs will need to become more proficient at designing for additive manufacturing by leveraging topology optimization and extreme part consolidation techniques in order to realize the full value that this technology can offer.
AMazing®: What NPE2015 takeaways would you like to share regarding the use of high-performance polymers for additive applications in industries like aerospace, rail, healthcare and automotive?
Tony Cerruti: The adoption of additive manufacturing across all industries continues to increase as the technologies evolve and improve in speed, part performance and aesthetics. Additionally, future developments in multi-material printing capabilities to enable the production of fully functional items such as a complex electrical component within a distinct printed part, will be a benefit to industries like aerospace, rail, healthcare and automotive.
This concludes our interview. Thank you very much Tony for your participation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to learn about SABICS’s involvement with the Strati and BAAM and overall strategic commitment to additive manufacturing technology.
About Tony Cerruti:
Tony Cerruti is director of Americas industrial marketing for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business – a leading, global supplier of engineering thermoplastics and a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), which ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies.
Cerruti is responsible for overseeing the development of unique regional solutions for SABIC’s customers in the Americas. Prior to his current role, he served as the LEXAN™ resins growth leader for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business.
During his career, Cerruti has served in multiple leadership roles, including global product director responsible for LEXAN™ resins. Cerruti’s more than 18 years of industry experience also includes roles across sales and marketing. Cerruti is a graduate of Ithaca College, holding a bachelor degree in Human Resource Management.
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks as the world’s second largest diversified chemical company. The company is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.
SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 23.3 billion (US$ 6.2 billion) in 2014. Sales revenues for 2014 totalled SR 188.1 billion (US$ 50.2 billion). Total assets stood at SR 340 billion (US$ 90.7 billion) at the end of 2014.
SABIC’s businesses are grouped into Chemicals, Polymers, Performance Chemicals, Fertilizers, Metals and Innovative Plastics. SABIC has significant research resources with 19 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, India, China and South Korea. The company operates in more than 45 countries across the world with around 40,000 employees worldwide.
SABIC manufactures on a global scale in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.
Headquartered in Riyadh, SABIC was founded in 1976 when the Saudi Arabian Government decided to use the hydrocarbon gases associated with its oil production as the principal feedstock for production of chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. The Saudi Arabian Government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
ABOUT INNOVATIVE PLASTICS
SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business is a leading, global supplier of engineering thermoplastics with an 80-year history of breakthrough solutions that solve its customers’ most pressing challenges. Today, Innovative Plastics is a multi-billion-dollar company with operations in more than 35 countries and approximately 9,000 employees worldwide. The company continues to lead the plastics industry with customer collaboration and continued investments in new polymer technologies, global application development, process technologies, and environmentally responsible solutions that serve diverse markets such as Healthcare, Transportation, Automotive, Electrical, Lighting and Consumer Electronics. The company’s extensive product portfolio includes thermoplastic resins, coatings, specialty compounds, film, and sheet. Innovative Plastics (www.sabic-ip.com) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
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