Additive manufacturing is such an emerging market that there’s still a lot of speculation about what it will take for this technology to move beyond traditional prototype applications to an established mainstream production manufacturing solution.RE3DTECH has found great success completing and continuing to supply numerous production projects on a weekly and monthly basis, achieving production quantities of up to 10,000 for our customers. In other words, we know firsthand that industrial 3D printing is a viable option for production. But the challenge to achieve mainstream buy-in remains.
Back in September, we were fortunate enough to attend RAPID + TCT 2021, North America’s largest and most influential additive manufacturing event, in the beautiful city of Chicago. We were thrilled to cross paths with many companies working just as hard as we are to bring additive production to the forefront of manufacturing.
Today, we’re excited to highlight five companies who are not only paving the way for industrial 3D printing technology, but also helping to develop distribution channels and business models that are positioning our industry for long-term success.
5 Companies Bringing Additive Manufacturing Production to the Forefront
There are two distinct types of companies in the additive manufacturing space: 1) OEMs that make the machines and 2) 3D printing service bureaus that use the machines to make parts and sell them.
There tends to be a huge knowledge gap between these two types of companies. The OEMs lack insight into how users apply their machines in the industry, and the 3D printing service bureaus have limited ability to adapt their equipment to meet customers’ needs.
What makes 3DEO so exciting is that they’re an OEM and a 3D printing service bureau. Because they make the machines that they offer as a service, they can pivot to customize their approach based on specific applications that they encounter.
This unique ability is helping 3DEO pave the way for metal binder jetting in particular, which is currently a small but rapidly growing additive manufacturing technology.
Wurth Additive Group has been making big moves in additive in recent years.
In April, the company launched a service to help customers create and manage their digital inventory. A few months later, they signed a deal with 3D printing heavyweight Markforged (one of RE3DTECH’s partners) to supply their materials and products. They also offer customers financing and rental options on 3D printing equipment.
RE3DTECH was proud to be the first 3D printing service bureau worldwide to sign a partnership with Wurth Additive Group.
Recently on this blog, we explored the possibilities of 3D printing tooling for injection molded prototypes and low-volume production.
The tooling required for traditional injection molding is expensive and time-consuming to make, so this manufacturing method typically isn’t recommended for these small quantities. With 3D printing, however, we can make injection molds quickly and cost-effectively using thermal sets.
We’re excited to see companies like 3DFortify and Loctite leading the way on 3D printing injection molds. 3DFortify currently prints mold tooling that boasts 10-100x the mold life vs. other 3D printed mold tools and achieves molded parts in 90% less time than traditional manufacturing. Loctite, on the other hand, is producing the majority of the thermoset resins used in these applications.
Mantle claims to be “changing the way precision parts are made”—and we think they’ve earned that designation. They combine the best aspects of conventional manufacturing and 3D printing to deliver precision metal parts with tolerances and surface finishes comparable to CNC machined parts at a fraction of the time and cost.
Their client base includes companies ranging from L’Oreal to Westminster Tool.
We already mentioned one of our partners, Markforged, and we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about how our other major partner, HP, continues to innovate in the additive manufacturing space.
HP is currently poised to launch a metal binder jetting system that will surely make a big splash when it hits the market. They also recently partnered with Rosler, a German company that specializes in innovative mass finishing and blasting technology, for a plug-and-play automated dewpowdering system.
Big things are happening in additive manufacturing, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds! If you’re interested in leveraging industrial 3D printing for prototype quantities, book a time to speak with our team!