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At the Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany today, Ultimaker released an expansion to its professional 3D printer portfolio with the new S5 3D printer – the first desktop machine the company has introduced in two years. But it’s a big week for the global 3D printing leader for another reason as well – the company is also in Fort Worth, Texas to attend RAPID + TCT this week.

In an effort to meet the continually growing demand for industrial-grade engineering materials that are compatible with its 3D printers, Ultimaker announced at RAPID today that it has joined collaborative alliances with several global material companies as part of a program to increase the amount of quality engineering composites and plastics that will work with its portfolio.

The companies that Ultimaker has partnered up with are:

“High quality 3D prints are the result of an optimized alignment of hardware, software and materials,” said Jos Burger, CEO of Ultimaker. “The strategic alliances formed with these global material companies opens up the use of the most sophisticated engineering plastics on Ultimaker printers, allowing the customers of the companies and Ultimaker to fully embed 3D printing in their existing workflows. With these alliances, more 3D printing users are getting access to sophisticated materials for all kinds of use cases in different segments and industries.”

3D printers are becoming increasingly popular for multiple applications in many different fields – according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), it’s expected that global spending on 3D printing technologies will reach almost $12 billion this year. A 3D printer is only as good as the material that’s used with it, which is why the need keeps rising for materials that are strong and durable enough to be used during the entirety of the product development cycle.

Car interior parts being finished. [Image: tyre3D]

For example, a large automobile manufacturer that makes most of its parts with a certain kind of plastic could save time and money by using the same material to 3D print prototypes, or even end-use parts on-demand.

For its part of the massive alliance program, Ultimaker will provide its leading Cura 3D printing software and materials knowledge so that its partner companies will be able to generate and maintain helpful material profiles. This will allow customers to successfully use the materials with Ultimaker’s 3D printers.

“The performance and reliability of Ultimaker 3D printers was key for us in the development of the XSTRAND composite filament. The reliable platform that the Ultimaker system provides enabled our team to efficiently develop high performance engineered solutions for this growing market,” said Dr. Chris Skinner, Director of Front End Innovation at Owens Corning. “We use these systems day in and day out to enable both our and our customers’ innovation.”

Using these new material profiles and pre-configured settings in Cura, which has over two million users worldwide, users will be able to 3D print parts automatically – no fuss, no muss.

“We want to make sport accessible to the many by delivering quality, technical products for the best price. The larger build volume of the Ultimaker S5 now enables us to 3D print prototypes for even more product types such as footwear and helmets and many others. Due to the open filament system we can print these objects with the materials we prefer – we can test, fail, and improve. We can change the way we prototype, the way we create. This allows us to speed up innovation and evaluate new concepts in an earlier stage, which reduces time and costs,” explained Julien Guillen, Leader of Additive Manufacturing at Decathlon’s Add Lab. “The Ultimaker S5, combined with Ultimaker Cura software, seamlessly fits in our development chain and the improved usability gives the Decathlon Add Lab’s team the power to deliver the right products for our users, at the right time.”

These new 3D printing material alliances that Ultimaker has formed will help the company open more doors for other advanced applications that are high in customer demand, as well as setting up a foundation for additional collaborations and partnerships in the future.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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