Belgian 3D printing provider Materialise is growing. Not only did it recently announce an option to acquire MES software developer Link3D, but the company has also opened a new 3,500 square meter (11,483 sq ft) Metal Competence Center in Bremen, Germany.
The site is the result of the company’s growing demand for metal 3D printed parts, which has expanded significantly as the technology has matured and its applications understood. Materialise also attributes recent increased demand to the manufacturing world’s interest in 3D printing as a means of adding resiliency and flexibility to its supply chain.
€7.5 million went into the new facility, which can house over 30 industrial metal 3D printer and a staff of more than 120 people. Whereas the company previously maintained dual facilities in Bremen, one for software development and distribution and another for industrial manufacturing, the new site will combine them under a single roof. This will allow for integrated production and development, with software development and manufacturing teams working together to improve one another and, in turn, the products delivered to their customers.
“Metal 3D printing has established itself as a powerful manufacturing solution, empowering people through local, decentralized production and providing a more sustainable way to manufacture products when compared to conventional manufacturing technologies. But as an industry we need to step up our efforts to make the 3D printing process itself more sustainable,” said Jurgen Laudus, vice president of Materialise Manufacturing. “Our work in Bremen will explore opportunities to optimize printing processes, improve energy efficiency and more consistently recover and reuse metal powder to create more sustainable technologies.”
Materialise also claims that the new facility will be used to focus on more sustainable metal 3D printing. Given CEO Fried Vancraen’s reluctance to engage in military manufacturing, it may be that the company is sincere in its desire for sustainable metal 3D printing.