According to the “Post-Processing for Additive Manufacturing: Market Analysis and Forecast” report from SmarTech Analysis, the additive manufacturing (AM) post-processing market is expected to be worth $1.8 billion by 2031. As a flywheel for 3D printing as a whole, post-processing began slowly with just a few companies and is now growing quickly as a segment. Every penny that this sector saves AM as a whole is one that goes towards making end use parts with 3D printing cheaper and more accessible. This allows the entire industry increase its volumes, which then drives a need for more and better post-processing equipment. In some cases post processing, support removal, resurfacing, and other procedures could comprise one-third of part costs. So, the potential is vast.
Developing alongside post-processing are the various AM sub-segments. One of the biggest successes in 3D printing is in jewelry casting and patterns. It’s a bit of a commodity area that we don’t often discuss, but millions of jewelry items are made each year with 3D printing and lost wax casting via the use of specialty resins or wax materials, saving artisans and large companies time and money. It’s no surprise then that the “3D Printing Jewelry Markets 2023: Market Study and Forecast” from SmarTech Analysis expects jewelry 3D printing to be worth nearly $1 billion by 2031.
At the nexus of the two areas are U.S. based firm PostProcess Technologies and reseller and service provider CAD BLU. Together, the companies are marketing a solution for automated wax support removal, the PostProcess DEMI 430. As we have seen with other PostProcess products, this machine relies on a proprietary detergent, in this case PLM-601-SUB, which is combined with the company’ unique software to automatically remove wax supports. The company also claims that this is safer than other competing solutions and that it leads not only to lower costs but also less part breakage. Generally, post-processing equipment improves manufacturing reliability and repeatability, as well.
¨We are thrilled to partner with CAD BLU to deliver our advanced post-processing solutions to the jewelry industry. quot; said Nathan Harris, Americas Vice President of Sales at PostProcess.Our DEMI 430 wax support removal solution is the perfect fit for jewelry manufacturers looking to streamline their additive workflows and improve the quality of their products. We look forward to working with CAD BLU to deliver this technology to their customers,” said Nathan Harris, Americas Vice President of Sales at PostProcess.
“CAD BLU is excited to partner with PostProcess, as the DEMI 430 solution is exactly what the jewelry industry has been needing and waiting for to optimize their additive manufacturing workflows. Rich Motto, our CEO and founder, led the charge to bring 3D printing solutions to jewelers, which had a significant impact in this industry overall. We expect to have an even greater impact in this market now that we offer such a transformational post-processing solution,” said Eric Rodriguez, CAD BLU’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
With a 64-liter capacity, the standard DEMI 430 setup can also eliminate PolyJet and Material Extrusion supports and removes uncured resin for vat polymerization technologies. The system relies on Submersed Vortex Cavitation (SVC), a technology that relies on immersion, mixing, and movement in detergent. With PostProcess software, users can modify the temperature (30-63°C), cycle time and even agitation algorithms.
The market opportunity in jewelry is immense if we look at it globally, but apart from a few large players in brands and retail, the business is intensely fragmented. This will make achieving a foothold difficult and costly or a company like PostProcess. Players are also quite unknown in this industry. Bad websites and phone numbers could conceal a large manufacturing business or immense diamond cutting enterprise. Local knowledge and deep industry expertise, along with a jewelry brand partnership, could be very valuable.
Fortunately, CAD BLU has a focus on jewelry and dental users. With 25 years in business, CAD BLU resells 3D Systems, Ultimaker and Mimaki machines. Partnering with CAD BLU puts PostProcess at jewelry trade shows, in jewelry publications, and in the mind of the jewelry manufacturing industry at the sacrifice of some margin, but with no cost in resources of its own.
I’m often very skeptical of OEMS working with resellers, which can be seen as a lazy move or something done just to ameliorate cash flow. Companies that cut corners often turn to resellers to subsidize and turbo charge lackluster sales. However, if there is real industry experience to be had, as in this case, then it could be a real win for the client, OEM, and reseller altogether.
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