Italian OEM Roboze makes high-temperature FDM machines that can print PEEK, PEI, and PA parts. Through enabling high-performance polymers high-temperature printers let people access parts for use in aerospace, automobiles as well as oil and gas. With higher continuous service temperatures, strength, low flame, and good chemical resistance these polymers are suited to the most demanding of applications. It has always surprised me that there are not more FDM companies that see the market gap in 3D printing that Roboze and its peers fill. If you want under the hood car parts, parts for aircraft interiors, or polymer spinal cages your needs are going to point towards high-performance high-temperature polymers. Materials such as PEEK are expensive and difficult to process but still in high demand. It is difficult to make a high-temperature printer that works well. Controlling heat bleed in the chamber and managing the temperature well throughout the build is a complex set of challenges. If a company does this well then they can find customers in many different markets, however. To me the draw of PEEK printers is that once you do qualify a part for production and have a certified process going then you’re unlikely to change your 3D printer OEM because it will be cost-prohibitive to do so. And the manufacturing applications for high-temperature materials often do require certified high regulatory burden processes. Whereas your desktop lab machine may get replaced as soon as someone spots a shinier one, a certified critical manufacturing process will trudge along day after way with the same partners. “Certified manufacturing” in difficult to process materials, therefore, makes you hard to dislodge. The learning curve and adoption costs will be steep but once you do start there will be volume for a long time.
Today Roboze has announced that it wishes to go into the manufacturing business itself as a service. Together with a distributed network of partners, Roboze is now offering a manufacturing service, Roboze 3D PARTS. The network is worldwide and will all use the Roboze Argo 3D printer.
Roboze CEO Alessio Lorusso said,
“Roboze 3D Parts is a key component of our vision to help manufacturers reduce their supply chain costs and time through digitalization of their inventory. Help them accelerate innovation to cope with the fast evolving market dynamics and deliver customized parts when they need , where they need ”
The company says in a press release,
“Over the years ROBOZE specialized it’s know -how in building a technology capable to fulfill the most demanding applications. ROBOZE 3D PARTS wants to put this expertise at their customer’s service adding the flexibility of ordering high performance parts on demand with the most precise 3D printing technology for composites and super polymers.”
The new service will let people print in PEEK, Carbon PEEK, EXTEM (TPI, thermoplastic polyimide one of the highest heat resistant polymers ), Carbon PA, PP, PC, and ULTEM AM9085F. You can also get your parts along with a certificate of conformity for the material and a compliance certificate.
The leader of the new service is Francesco Pantaleone, a 3D printing industry veteran, who used to manage high-temperature materials company SABIC’s 3D printing materials portfolio. Snagging him means that Roboze is making a serious commitment to manufacturing. Managing Director, Francesco Pantaleone states that,
“ROBOZE 3D PARTS production partners, are phenomenal companies with broad expertise in manufacturing end-use parts with highly technical materials. We are building a synergic network that is able to fulfill the requirements of a variety of key industries, with the mission to facilitate our customers transitioning into the next phase of digitalized manufacturing, helping them starting up and scaling up their projects faster”
I think that this is a brilliant move that will help Roboze find new customers. Companies can now inexpensively test PEEK and composite parts before they buy. There have not been a lot of services that have adopted FDM PEEK and other materials like it. We know that there is significant demand in CF and GF polyamide manufacturing, with individual companies doing tens of thousands of parts, but few services offer FDM CF and GF PA grades in FDM. Roboze’s service can be a gateway drug to companies wishing to manufacture in GF and CF PA as well as PEEK and PEI. The company has positioned itself as a supply chain redundancy solution as well at a critical time to do so. Many companies also have little volume in 3D printed parts, for these a service makes a lot of sense as well. I think that this will drive demand for Roboze’s printer sales. More importantly, by doing a service the company will get better insight into the types of parts companies wish to print and their requirements. Through gaining a deeper understanding of customer requirements, the company can improve its own output in parts and feed this critical information to Roboze’s R&D. This should let Roboze improve next-generation printers to meet actual market requirements and demands rather than imagined ones. At the same time, this service will give Roboze partners more incentive to buy a Roboze machine over the competition since the Bari made machine will come with “revenue inside.”
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