Mitsubishi Chemical Group launches 3D printing FGF engineering challenge

Mitsubishi Chemical Group (MCG) Growth Garage, in collaboration with their partners, announces the 3D Printing Fused Granulate Fabrication (FGF) Engineering Challenge. This open innovation program invites startups, scaleups, and innovative companies to explore the possibilities of 3D Printing with granulates (pellets).

Mitsubishi Chemical Group launches 3D printing FGF engineering challenge

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If you’re looking to explore this emerging technology for your part, product, or application, or want to combine it with composites through hybrid manufacturing technologies, the 3D Printing FGF Engineering Challenge presents a great opportunity.

What is 3D Printing FGF?

Fused Granulate Fabrication is an extrusion-based additive manufacturing method that utilizes granular materials (pellets), typically plastics or composites, as the primary feedstock for printing. It uses a heated nozzle to melt and extrude the granules layer by layer, enabling the creation of intricate and customized objects. What sets FGF apart from other 3D printing methods is its versatility, as it can effectively utilize a wide range of commercially available plastic or composite granulates. This feature makes FGF a cost-effective and easily scalable option with numerous applications.

Printing a bridge using robot FGF printer with Mitsubishi Chemical Group recycled PETG polymer Source: Autodesk University

FGF is an emerging technology which stands out with its precise, high-speed plastics extrusion capability compared to fused filament fabrication (FFF). FGF’s distinguishing feature lies in its versatility, as it accommodates a wide range of materials. However, this flexibility demands a more intricate printing process, necessitating custom process settings for different materials. This means that material processability requires a deeper technical understanding compared to Fused Filament Fabrication.

Why participate in the 3D Printing FGF Engineering Challenge?

This challenge offers a unique opportunity to access resources and support that can help you bring your innovative ideas to life or enhance your existing product or application with an emerging technology. Mitsubishi Chemical Group Growth Garage is committed to helping you achieve your goals, providing a comprehensive package of benefits and resources valued at $25,000 to the challenge winner.

In this open innovation program, Mitsubishi Chemical Group (MCG) Growth Garage collaborates with selected industry partners including Ford Motor Company, Alstom, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, CEAD Group, ADAXIS, Belotti SpA, FIS Robotics , Haddy and Nedcam. To promote sustainable innovation, The Global KAITEKI Center (TGKC) and Arizona State University are also part of the Engineering Challenge.

Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s wide range of 3D Printing material portfolio

Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s wide range of 3D Printing materials offers solutions for every need. The portfolio comprises:

  • Over 65 standard off-the-shelf pellet grades
  • Custom-made pellets tailored to specific properties and requirements
  • Soft to structural materials, high-temperature performance materials, recycled materials, and bio-based materials
  • Customizable materials with flame retardancy, UV-stability, transparency, and specific mechanical properties

Who should participate?

The 3D Printing FGF Engineering Challenge is open to a diverse range of participants, including those who are:

  1. Inexperienced with 3D Printing: Individuals and companies looking to explore the possibilities of 3D Printing FGF for prototyping or small series production.
  2. Experienced with 3D Printing (FFF): Those who have experience with 3D Printing and are interested in testing, implementing, and transitioning to FGF.
  3. Experienced with 3D Printing: Innovators seeking to integrate FGF with hybrid technologies like continuous carbon-fiber-based composites.

Exploring various application areas

They are inviting companies offering solutions for parts, products, and applications that can be used in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Mobility: Automotive parts, jigs and fixtures, autonomous delivery vehicles, rail systems, UAVs, eVTOLs, and more.
  • Assistive Technology: Prosthetics, bionics, and wheelchairs.
  • Maritime: Ships, boats, yachts, and their components.
  • Robotics: Industrial and consumer robots, from manufacturing robots to home automation systems.
The final 5m long bridge exhibited by Autodesk University
  • Jigs and Fixtures for Production: Tools and equipment to make manufacturing easier.
  • Furniture: Furniture with new designs, materials, and features that are more attractive, ergonomic, and sustainable.
  • Sports and Leisure: New technologies and products for sports, recreation, and entertainment.

Note: The above list is just a starting point. They’re also open to submissions from other industries that can use 3D Printing FGF or hybrid technologies.

Challenge Winner support

The challenge winner will receive a comprehensive support package valued at $25,000. This package is designed to empower the winning participant and includes the following benefits:

  • Material and technology selection: Their team of experts will help you choose the right materials and technologies for your project, taking into account factors such as the desired performance characteristics, cost, and manufacturability. They can also help you identify new and emerging materials and technologies that may be suitable for your application.
  • Value proposition and business model assessment and evaluation: They will conduct a thorough assessment of your project’s value proposition and business model, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and providing recommendations for improvement.
  • Access to a wide selection of (customizable) materials for 3D printing: You will have access to Their extensive library of 3D printing materials, including a wide range of customizable options. This will give you the flexibility to experiment and find the perfect material for your project.
Soft touch Tefabloc granulates
  • Design for manufacturing support: Their engineers will work with you to optimize your designs for efficient and cost-effective manufacturing. They can help you identify potential manufacturing challenges and develop solutions to avoid them.
  • Global exposure in various media: They will promote your project to a global audience through a variety of media channels, including social media, industry publications, and press releases. This will help you generate interest and excitement for your product or service.
  • Access to their wide partner network: They will connect you with relevant partners in the 3D printing and manufacturing industries. These partners can provide you with valuable resources and support as you bring your product to market.
  • Feedback from senior management in Mitsubishi Chemical Group: You will have the opportunity to meet with senior executives at Mitsubishi Chemical Group, who can provide you with mentorship and guidance. This is a unique opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in the industry.
  • Exposure to potential customers: They will introduce you to potential customers who may be interested in your product or service. This will give you the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers and get direct feedback on your product.
  • Access to experts in their community and jury: You will have access to a network of experts in the 3D printing and manufacturing industries. These experts can provide you with valuable advice and support as you develop and commercialize your product.

Key challenge dates

The 3D Printing FGF Engineering Challenge has been launched on October 23, 2023 and will be open for submissions until February 14, 2024.

  • Challenge Opens: October 23, 2023
  • Early Bird Closure: December 01, 2023 – Learn more about the benefits of an early bird entrant here: 3D Printing FGF Challenge Entry Pack
  • Challenge Closure: February 14, 2024
  • Finalist Announcement: February 22, 2024
  • Winner announcement online event: March 5, 2024

Apply now: 3D Printing FGF Engineering Challenge

More information www.growthgarage.mcgc.com