Over the past year, Italian 3D printer manufacturer Roboze has gathered some pretty impressive clients, including defense manufacturers and aviation companies among others. Their Roboze One+400 3D printer, released less than a year ago, has a lot of manufacturers across industries excited about its ability to print with materials that have been almost unseen in the 3D printing market so far, particularly PEEK and PEI.
It’s hard to get more impressive than Roboze’s latest client, though. The company announced today that GE Global Research has just added the Roboze One+400 to its Niskayuna, New York facility and will be using it to explore the manufacture of PEEK parts for aerospace and other applications.
“Can there be a bigger company in the 3d-printing world than General Electric to collaborate with?” Roboze Founder and CEO Alessio Lorusso enthused to 3DPrint.com. “GE plans to digitize manufacturing with 3d printing technologies. We are with them.”
Lorusso has a point – there are few companies that have come close to GE, especially over the last year, in terms of 3D printing expansion. As one of the largest corporations in the world, GE has plenty of resources to position itself as a leader in additive manufacturing, and has been steadily working to do so through multiple major acquisitions in addition to some high-profile manufacturing projects, along with the recent formation of GE Additive.
Thus far, GE’s focus has been on metal additive manufacturing, which is unsurprising as metal 3D printing is still the primary technology used in industrial additive manufacturing, particularly for end-use parts. That’s beginning to change, though, with the introduction of industrial-grade polymer 3D printing technology like that offered by Carbon and now Roboze. GE’s investment in the Roboze One+400 further shows that major manufacturers are giving consideration to new material options.
“We are so proud about the [choice] from GE Global Research to turn [to] Roboze for techno-polymers additive manufacturing,” Lorusso told us. “Metal is certainly one of the most promising [parts of the] future for the entire 3d printing industry, but let’s think for a moment to all applications where techno-polymers, especially PEEK and PEI, can substitute metals, with a massive saving of cost, weight and time. We are already working closely to major industry leaders, including Aircraft manufacturers, Formula 1 racing teams, defense and aerospace companies who look techno-polymers and composites materials as a valid and sometime necessary substitute of metal components. We will continue to improve techno-polymers additive manufacturing day by day, helping our customers to increase their productivity and bringing the 3D Printing from prototyping to manufacturing age.”
Roboze was an obvious choice for GE to look to when they decided to begin working with polymer 3D printing. The Roboze One+400 offers more than a dozen material options, and while it’s gained attention and acclaim mostly for its PEEK and PEI abilities, its other materials are nothing to sneeze at either. Carbon PA, a polyamide filament reinforced with 20% carbon fiber, is another that can substitute for metal with lower weight and cost, while several variations on ABS, PLA, nylon and even plexiglass round out a selection of durable materials.
In less than a year, Roboze has already upgraded the One+400 once, and the company’s aggressive forward momentum in terms of expansion and development makes it a good match for GE’s pace.
“As a strategic decision, GE decided to lead one of the next big industrial revolutions – implementing diverse 3d printing technologies in manufacturing processes,” Gil Lavi, Roboze’s VP of Global Sales and Business Development, told us. “Their first big move was acquiring metal 3d printing companies and now they are looking on additional solutions with techno-polymers. Roboze, as a leading innovator in this field, was a natural candidate due to our unique capabilities to produce high-quality durable parts from advanced materials, especially from PEEK & PEI. These type of materials exceeds the current offering in the market, including from leading 3d companies, substantially expanding the spectrum of possible metal replacement applications. We are super excited to work with GE team at the company’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, and looking forward to see how far they with stretch our 3d printing technology for different manufacturing applications.”
3DPrint.com spoke with GE just last week about the intensive materials development going on at its Additive Materials Lab, also located at the Niskayuna facility. Roboze isn’t done creating new printing materials, either, and it’s easy to imagine this partnership expanding even further as the two companies work together to exchange information and feedback
“When talking about additive manufacturing and its critical role in the next industrial revolution is impossible to not think of GE. GE wants just one thing: being the promoter of the global additive manufacturing,” Roboze Marketing Manager Ilaria Guicciardini told 3DPrint.com. “I don’t think that it will be hard for them to reach it. It has demonstrated in the past, and it will do it definitely in the future. [Being] part of all this can only make me and my team proud. When two years ago we began this adventure we had into our mind what was our way. Giving a real solution to those who every day making industry – from what are their needs and not be overwhelmed by the ‘prophecies’ of the market. The Roboze’s collaboration with a leading player like GE can only bring benefits to the entire industry.”
We spoke with the Roboze team at formnext 2016 just a few months ago, and it’s clear that the company has been acting on the goals they told us about then, such as the expansion into the US market. Building relationships with US-headquartered companies like GE is a clear sign of forward momentum for this ambitious Italian company. In an industry so focused on metal, the technological capabilities of Roboze’s polymer-focused system are really proving their mettle. Discuss in the Roboze forum at 3DPB.com.
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