Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Startup Accelerator, Singapore: Desalination, Diet Supplements, and Space 3D Printing

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In this fourth installment of Singapore Startups, we’re looking at startup firms from Singapore. Will the tiny nation become an epicentre for 3D printing? What is actually happening in Singapore on the 3D printing startup scene?

Nanosun

Nanosun makes 3D printed water membranes to aid in desalination. Used in municipal water, desalination, and wastewater treatment, this is a novel 3D printing application. Their 3D printed micro-filtration membrane deserves to be much more widely known. I also think that there are a lot of opportunities in membranes and filtering with 3D printing which are underexploited.

The company has containerized water treatment solutions that one could buy and use locally around the world. Additionally, Nanosun installs its technology for waste water treatment and desalination at large factory sites. Through its 3D printed membranes, the firm is able to outperform and outlast conventional membranes. The research was started over two decades ago and the company has been in business since 2013. Now, it has a number of wastewater and desalination facilities worldwide that use its technology. I think this is a criminally overlooked company that is bringing 3D printing to critical water applications globally.

Crafthealth

Crafthealth is a firm that has a 3D printer for nutritional supplements. The company also offers multi-material tablets with controlled release properties. What’s more different substances can be dissolved at different rates.

Over 150 firms are now focusing on bioprinting and dozens on orthopaedics. Dozens of 3D printing food companies are starting to emerge, as well. As fruitful as those areas are, I love nutrition as a value-added segment with light regulation. In this sector, there are only a handful of 3D printing companies active. With many worried about nutrition and seeking all manner of magical pills to help all manner of ills, this area could be very fruitful. Personalized nutrition or different nutrients depending on how much you walk or where you are with a certain disease are all very important, but little catered to. One can think of all sorts of custom nutrient solutions for pregnant women, people who work in the sun, marathon runners, and even sub-segments of these groups. Imagine a supplement specifically for you or one for women over 45 who do pilates and lead active lives. There could be an awful lot of value there.

In medicine, there could also be considerable value, but the regulatory burden would be much higher and it would take much longer and cost significantly more to develop solutions for this space. In fact, Crafthealth could be like an incubator, trying out all sorts of new geometries in nutrition that could later be ported to medicine. The opportunity is huge and they are a likely acquisition target as well.

NuSpace

Singapore-based NuSpace is at the intersection of IoT, space, and 3D printing for a hype trifecta. The company makes space components and modular units for nano satellites. This is an area that is ripe for exploitation because, with better technology and computing power, smaller satellites are growing more capable all the time. With investor interest in space at an all time high, NuSpace has opportunities to expand. The company is reportedly looking at 3D printing in their workflow and developing new capabilities with the technology. This will be an interesting one to watch.

Equatorial Space

Equatorial Space is another space firm, this time specializing in launch and propulsion. Active since 2017, the firm wants to democratize space and is on track to make one of the first commercial rocket launches in Asia. By combining liquid oxidizer and solid fuel, the company hopes to revolutionize propulsion design and enable much cheaper launch vehicles. Their hybrid propulsion technology is reportedly made in part through 3D printing.

What other Singapore based startups are out there? Reach out to Joris (at) 3dprint.com, if you have a tip!

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