Meeting Bernd Pachaly – ACEO® Project Manager and 3D Enthusiast

lab technician Stefanie Schuster and Bernd Pachaly compounding ACEO® Silicones in one of the labs of Burghausen

Compounding ACEO® Silicones in one of the labs of Burghausen: lab technician Stefanie Schuster and Bernd Pachaly (Photo: ACEO®, Wacker Chemie AG)

Bernd Pachaly is looking back on more than 30 years of researching and developing new applications for silicones. He strongly believes that elastomers are the most versatile and fascinating among them. No wonder he claims that the development of 3D printing with silicone elastomers is the crowning glory of his professional career so far.

Which innovation has changed the 21st century most so far?

To my mind this is the internet. Anybody, anywhere and at any time is able to assess extensive information easily and quickly by himself. Experts and libraries are no longer necessary. The democratizing effect is enormous. And basically the same applies to 3D printing. Anybody can become a designer, create parts and produce them.

What was the trigger to start a project on 3D printing with silicones?

We strongly believe that silicones are needed in the area of additive manufacturing. So far they have not been available and we are proud to present this world premiere. The difficulty is to adapt the material to the process, which is quite challenging due to its high viscosity. But we think it is worth our efforts: Silicones are offering manifold properties like elasticity, biocompatibility and many more. In combination with 3D printing they are opening up new possibilities for rapid prototyping in general and health care in particular.

What do you like most about the project ACEO®?

Wacker is a traditional chemical company based on 100 years of expertise which is setting the sails for the future. Our project is embarking us on a new journey – both for the company and for the world of additive manufacturing. The ACEO® team is exploring new business opportunities which are to lead us the way. We are enjoying a strong support from our captain’s cabin – if we want to continue the theme.

But apart from this I really like working with my new team. They are all very dedicated and passionate about the opportunities 3D printing with silicones is offering. In the end it is always the people who make the difference.

You are also head of Wacker Silicones’ innovation team. Keeping in mind your long-term experience: What do you regard as main challenge for innovation in silicones?

The biggest challenges are differentiation in the solutions we are offering and at the same time getting a fair share from the market for the high expenses we are spending for research and development. At Wacker R&D is part of our DNA as for example our center for basic research has been established some years before our company was founded. Today more than 400 silicone specialists are relentlessly developing new products for new solutions in our technical centers and innovation hubs spread all over the world.

What do you wish the ACEO® team?

I wish that in five years’ time we can look back on our starting days and feel pleased with the changes and opportunities we have been introducing to the markets and applications for 3D printing with silicones.

Though looking back does not reflect your personality. From what we understood about you, you will be looking forward to new challenges in five years’ time.

That’s quite true. I am far too curious and like following new paths constantly. Probably a characteristic every scientist needs – otherwise there would be no progress.

Thank you for sharing these interesting insights with us. We will continue to accompany the team and also report about interesting product solutions from the ACEO® Campus. Stay tuned.

Discussing surface and material properties: Bernd Pachaly and lab technician Siegfried Dormeier (Photo: ACEO®, Wacker Chemie AG)