Desktop 3D printing leader Ultimaker has announced a partnership with Singapore- and Houston-based global additive manufacturer 3D Metalforge. As a result of this partnership, the two will collaboratively launch what’s being called the largest industrial FFF 3D printing facility in Southeast Asia (SEA). 3D Metalforge, the sister company to fellow Singapore-based business 3D Matters, certainly has experience here, as it’s actively worked to open other additive manufacturing facilities in Singapore over the last few years.
“We are pleased to be selected as the partner of choice by 3D Metalforge. As an established 3D printing company, Ultimaker offers a comprehensive solution to FFF 3D printing needs with its superior printers, industry-leading 3D print preparation and management software, and open material programme,” stated Benjamin Tan, Vice President of Ultimaker APAC, in a press relase.
“With FFF 3D printing, lead time is often halved, as compared to conventional methods like injection moulding. This allows companies to have quicker go-to-market strategies. A printed prototype also allows close examinations for modifications, and customisations before embarking on mass-printing. This helps companies save costs before committing to bulk print orders. We are confident that Ultimaker is well-poised to support 3D Metalforge’s journey in FFF 3D printing.”
The new facility will be located in the western part of Singapore, and will offer industrial-grade FFF 3D printing from Ultimaker’s S-Line systems, particularly 21 Ultimaker S3 printers. This will offer customers in the country a full ecosystem of certified 3D printers and fleet management, engineering materials, and 3D printing preparation software.
Some of the main industries supported by 3D Metalforge include defense, maritime, medical, precision engineering, and oil and gas, and opening this new facility with Ultimaker will allow the company to expand the available 3D printing capabilities it can offer these clients; this is especially helpful as there is an ever-growing demand for 3D printed parts in these sectors. In addition to FFF, SLS, DED, and MJF 3D printing, the company also offers engineering and design optimization, consultancy, and post-processing services.
The reason 3D Metalforge made the decision to partner with Ultimaker and invest in FFF 3D printing is because Ultimaker has partnerships with many other global material companies through its open Material Alliance, which includes over 150 types of material and nearly 50 brands. Because of this, 3D Metalforge is able to offer services to companies in other sectors that have diverse, specific requirements; for example, the Singapore company is currently 3D printing parts for a variety of projects related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
In launching this facility with Ultimaker, 3D Metalforge is also able to use its partner company’s Digital Factory software platform—a remote 3D printer fleet management system—in order to manage its vision of local, distributed additive manufacturing. In doing so, the company could possibly develop a more agile, sustainable supply chain, and meet increased customer demand, by redirecting production from Singapore to its US facility.
“We deal with clients from blue-chip companies that have stringent criteria on the production of end-use parts. It is thus imperative that we invest in reliable FFF 3D printers that can meet our needs and benchmarking standards. Ultimaker also has an open solution that allows us to work with over 150 materials. This has enabled us to experiment and/or print with the most suitable material, depending on customers’ needs. Furthermore, I am pleased with the excellent after-sales support that I have received to date,” said Matthew Waterhouse, the CEO of 3D Metalforge.
3D Metalforge is also hoping to add another four engineers to its team as part of its expansion efforts, in addition to recruiting eight trainees from The SGUnited Traineeships Programme, which works to support graduates and soon-to-be graduates from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Polytechnics, Universities and other private educational institutions as they take on trainee opportunities across multiple industries. 3D Metalforge is looking to build a workforce of engineers who possess future-ready AM skills, and believes that partnering with this program will help with this goal.
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