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Wacker Chemie opens Aceo 3D printing silicone lab in Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Building on the success of its Aceo Open Print Lab in Burghausen, Germany, Wacker Chemie A.G. has brought its 3D silicone printing technology to the U.S.

The German firm inaugurated its Aceo Open Print Lab at its Silicone R&D facility in Ann Arbor March 25. The lab will feature two 3D printers that can produce a range of silicone rubbers with varying Shore A hardness and a variety of colors. Combined with Aceo's additive manufacturing technology, the lab will be able to produce product designs and geometric shapes for quick prototyping, Wacker said.

Additionally, the lab will provide customers with solutions for serial manufacturing or the production of replacement parts.

 
"Our business partners in the region want to understand how their ideas and products can be brought to market with our support," Ian Moore. vice president of Wacker Silicones at Wacker Chemical Corp., said in a news release. "With the new Open Print Lab we can significantly expand our local portfolio and contribute to the growing demand of the market."

Lab Manager Sarah Burke, who previously worked at the Silicone R&D Center in applications of construction and consumer care, will oversee the new open print lab.

The Burghausen site, opened in 2017, saw success in helping to educate customers about the value of 3D printing through a fundamental understanding of the process, technology and applications. The Ann Arbor site will offer the same insights by providing hands-on training and tutorials that give customers the opportunity to experience 3D printing with silicones. Workshops, which can be scheduled for up to four people, also will help to personalize training and cover both theoretical and printing for both basic manufacturing and advanced design.

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