3D Printer Provider Ultimaker Targets Industrial Production with New Launches
Jamie Howard, president of Ultimaker Americas, discusses the company’s new product launches and outlook on 3D printing in manufacturing.
Meet Ultimaker: a company that believes manufacturing parts or models shouldn't be complicated. Since 2011, Ultimaker, with offices in the Netherlands, New York, Boston and Singapore, has built an open and easy-to-use platform of 3D printers, software and materials, with a focus on bringing professional-grade 3D printers and in-house production to any desk. The company’s technology is targeting jigs, fixture, tools, prototypes and end-use and replacement parts. Manufacturers like Volkswagen, Ford and Jabil are customers.
A key aspect of the company’s offerings is material choice. The company has worked with more than 80 companies, including DSM and BASF, to develop material print profiles for FFF 3D printing. These material companies actively use the Print Profile Assistant provided by Ultimaker to bring a wide variety of high-performance FFF 3D printing materials to the professional market. Ultimaker first formed the program in April 2018 to meet the growing demand for industrial-grade engineering 3D printing materials.
Jamie Howard, president of Ultimaker Americas, calls material selection a “key part” of the additive manufacturing workflow.
“Our materials platform is open, unlike some of our competitors,” Howard says. “Being open leads to accessibility with a wider range of materials and gives a much easier user experience that leads to more reliable print quality and repeatability.”
The company recently unveiled the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle, which consists of the Ultimaker S5 3D printer; the new Ultimaker S5 Air Manager, which provides a closed, inside-out air flow for the Ultimaker S5; and the Ultimaker S5 Material Station, which allows users to load filament spools in six bays that have abrasive-resistant pre-feeders. All of these technologies integrate with each other. This solution is tested to be left unattended 24/7 and reportedly significantly improves 3D printing workflow and productivity. It’s also said to result in less time managing and monitoring the desktop 3D printer. The Ultimaker S5 can print larger functional prototypes, manufacturing tools and end-use parts.
“The inclusion of the Ultimaker S5 Air Manager and Ultimaker S5 Material Station with the successful Ultimaker S5 is another step toward taking additive manufacturing into production environments,” says Hugo da Silva, vice president of Additive Manufacturing, DSM. “The additional functionality will allow engineering materials, such as those of DSM, to be printed more safely and consistently. This will bring additive manufacturing technology within reach of many more players and help us manufacture tomorrow.”
The company also launched its new Ultimaker S3, which integrates into Ultimaker’s open ecosystem. The feeder wheels are made of hardened steel and together with the CC print core, users can print with almost any 2.85 mm filament—such as PLA, ABS, Nylon, third-party materials and abrasive materials.
Engineers can design, test, and produce models and custom end-use parts wide a wide range of materials for their manufacturing needs.
“Applications are lining up and more companies are seeing 3D printing as a strategic initiative and competitive advantage, which really speaks well for the industry, and printing with plastics is still the leading technology combination,” Howard says. “I think the whole industry is poised for significant growth.”
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