3D Printing Activity in Saudi Arabia Poised to Grow with $15M Immensa Facility

Formnext Germany

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At the end of June, Immensa, a Saudi Arabian additive manufacturing (AM) service bureau, opened a new $15 million facility in Dammam, the fourth-largest city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), on the western shore of the Persian Gulf. According to Immensa, the over 16,000-square-foot site is the first such facility in KSA that is wholly privately-owned.

Previously, in April 2021, Immensa also became the first company to receive AM license approval from KSA’s Ministry of Investments. In the press release for that earlier milestone, Immensa stated that it was creating “the world’s first and largest” digital warehouse of parts for the oil & gas industry.

As the KSA oil industry originated in the nation’s Eastern Province, of which Dammam is the capital, the region is one of the most important links in global energy supply chains. KSA’s Vice Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Osama bin Abdulaziz Al-Zamil, an engineer with a two-decades-plus career at Zamil Group — one of the nation’s largest holding companies — was on location at the launch to serve as its ceremonial head.

In a press release about the new $15 million AM facility, the Chairman of Immensa, Ali Abdulaziz Alturki, said, “Immensa exists to localize the production and supply of spare parts across various critical industries. This new facility marks the expansion of our efforts to onshore production to help industries reinforce and decarbonize their value chains. [AM] today is a firmly established process, and we are harnessing the power of 3D printing to support local industries, economic growth and sustainability. Immensa has ambitious expansion plans, which are underpinned by local talent and engineers. We will continue empowering the industrial ecosystem to ensure not only that we are a major player in this field, but also that Saudi Arabia and the wider region lead in local on-demand, advanced manufacturing.”

Immensa’s growth plan reflects two major Saudi long-range, strategic objectives, currently shaping the nation’s trajectory: Vision 2030, which is the KSA Industry4.0 blueprint, and Saudi Aramco’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTA) initiative. As Immensa’s chairman noted, in addition to accelerating the localization of manufacturing in the KSA itself, the goal is to make the nation a regional force across the full gamut of heavy industry, targeting markets like Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain.

Relatedly, in neighboring Riyadh Province, Dussur — the Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company — recently announced the opening of its joint venture with 3D Systems, National Additive Manufacturing Innovation (NAMI). First announced in March, 2022, NAMI is following a similar model of using a foothold in oil & gas digitalization as leverage to diversify into other markets like aerospace and health care.

Above all, though, Immensa and NAMI will likely have the biggest opportunity to make an impact in KSA electrification efforts, including the nation’s rapidly growing activity in the EV market. Along those lines, KSA’s most interesting role in global geopolitics is as an example of how the world’s biggest polluters may or may not succeed in their net-zero transitions. Especially significant, in this vein, is the equilibrium between the need for decarbonization on the one hand, and on the other, the inevitability of getting caught in the middle of US-China power jockeying.

Images courtesy of Immensa

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