BASF to Industrialize 3D Printing with Polypropylene

Polypropylene (PP) is the most prominent thermoplastic in traditional manufacturing, boasting huge annual demand worldwide that now also extends to additive manufacturing—prompting an intuitive partnership between Shapeways and BASF. Operating on a co-branded website , Shapeways and global startup Forward AM by BASF 3D Printing Solutions are working together to further empower customers 3D printing on the industrial level. 

Forward AM by BASF is directed under the guidance of its mother company BASF in a charter to offer advanced materials, service solutions, and affordability through scale to enable taking additive manufacturing from simply a prototyping tool to production. 

“The development of Polypropylene grades for powder based additive manufacturing was our logical step towards industrial production with 3D printing, especially in the automotive industry,” commented Christian Reinhardt, Global Automotive lead for BASF Forward AM. “From now on engineers can finally work with materials they are used to and don’t have to find workarounds for 3D printed applications anymore.” 

Economics and Sustainability

The Forward AM PP is highly recyclable in both SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) and MJF (Multi-Jet Fusion) processes.  This supports sustainability, limits waste, and keeps part costs very low.  

BASF 3D Printing Solutions is committed to the industrialization of 3D printing for manufacturing.  The affordability of 3D Printing materials will drive industrialization, and BASF has the capacity to manufacture powder at large scale, driving affordability.  This dramatically moves the needle in the favor of AM for higher and higher volume runs where historically injection molding might have been chosen outside of prototyping.  

“The ability to validate Polypropylene prototypes in the same base material as production enables cost and time saving opportunities for all customers,” said Aaron DeLong, Solutions Architect for HP. “Further, this breakthrough provides enhanced saving opportunities in bridge production, full production, and service applications.”

PP can also be an effective replacement for PA12 prototyping parts to bring about savings of 25%- 50%. 


“In combination with Digital Printing, we see the BASF PP material as a game changer in the automotive industry to give OEMs more flexibility, leading to a greater focus on product-level features and increasing the speed of innovation.” – David Tucker, Director of Digital Solutions at Forecast3D. 

BASF PP printed parts provide key advantages:

Chemical Resistance.  The material produces durable production parts for automotive applications. 
High ductility and toughness.  Industrial applications benefit from the ability of the PP to provide damping and shock absorption. 
High burst pressure resistance.  Unlike most printed powderbed...