Oct 12, 2015 | By Kira

The benefits of 3D printing technology to medicine, education, manufacturing and the consumer market are becoming more and more known everyday. Unfortunately, the lack of access to 3D printers themselves, as well as the knowledge needed to operate them, has become the greatest barrier between their technological potential and the public they would benefit. In an effort to level the playing field and give equal opportunity to as many people as possible, 3D printing manufacturer Zortrax will be equipping 180 public benefit institutions within the Mazovian Voivodeship (the most populated area in Poland) with M200 3D printers and will provide free courses, software and materials to use them.

According to Zortrax, the project is to be realized under a public tender process organized by the Mazovian Development Agency on behalf of Mazovian Voivodeship authorities, who themselves selected Zortrax as the supplier. The project is valued at 2 million Polish Zlotys ($550,000), to be financed from public funds. The program aims to tackle the divide between the technological have and have-nots, also known as ‘digital exclusion,’ and promote 3D printing technology in small towns. Already one of the largest 3D printer manufacturers in Poland, the project will also strengthen Zortrax’s position within the country, and cement Poland’s position in the global 3D printing market.

In order to provide not only the tools, but the knowledge required to use them, the conditions of the agreement include equipping 180 schools, libraries and other recreations facilities with M200 3D printers, as well as providing lessons and tools to ensure that the community members are appropriately trained to use them. To that end, they will organize free courses, grant access to their e-learning platform, and give the institutions access to their ‘complete Zortrax ecosystem,’ including their dedicated 3D printing software and a year’s supply of production materials. Their forecasted goal is to have all printers delivered by the end of November 2015.

“Insufficient access to cutting edge technology, as well as digital exclusion, continue to be serious problems in Poland, mainly in smaller towns,” said Zortrax. “This project is an excellent example of cooperation between Polish self-governing bodies and private companies, and will contribute to the local development of technological competences.”

The award winning plug-and-play M200 3D printer model has been recognized for its reliability and efficiency and was launched in 2014 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It has been used in aviation, automobile production, and consumer-based/individual design cases. They company also recently released the Inventure 3D printer, a compact machine intended for small to medium-sized offices that fits within their vision of accessible 3D printing for all.

Great access to technological means and education benefits all those involved, from major corporations to local communities that have their own individual needs and concerns. By breaking down the barriers to access, be they geographic, educational, or financial, open access projects such as these have the potential to change how students, residents and educators approach local issues. With their newfound knowledge and skills, they can then benefit the 3D printing industry at large. “We firmly believe that many of the people who are able to experience this fascinating technology in [the masovian Voivodeship] will enter our field as professionals in the future,” said Zortrax CEO Rafal Tomasiak. Indeed, the world is powered not by giant research institutions and private corporations, but by local communities, close-knit towns, and the individuals that make them up. By focusing on empowering and connecting these individuals through 3D printing technology and education, Zortrax and the Mazovian Development Agency are in fact empowering and connecting us all.



Posted in 3D Printing Companies



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