Aug 11, 2016 | By Alec

Belgian 3D printing specialists Materialise hardly need introduction. The largest provider of high quality 3D printing services in Europe, they are especially known for taking on the hardest and largest 3D printing challenges – such as this 3D printed medical grade replica of Ötzi the Ice Man. They are also experts when it comes to medical 3D printing innovations, which is perfectly illustrated by this life-saving 3D printed tracheal splint. But Materialise is now ready for the next phase in their career, and are about to start construction on Europe’s largest and most modern 3D printing factory. Built in the Polish village of Bielany Wrocławskie (near Wrocław), it will allow them to cope with 3D printing projects of a much larger scale.

It’s a huge project that will cost several million zlotys (or several hundred thousand dollars) to complete. Construction, which is set to begin later this year, is planned to end in mid-2017. Once open, this 3D printing factory will employ about fifty people. Aside from 3D printing, the factory will also house a state-of-the-art post-production facility, where all kinds of manufactured items will be perfected in-house – making this a truly comprehensive 3D printing factory.

But of course you might wonder: why is a Belgian 3D printing specialist building a factory in Eastern Europe? In part, it will allow Materialise to become a leading player in the Eastern European 3D printing market. But more importantly, it’s because they already have a strong presence in Wrocław. Two years ago, Materialise acquired e-Prototypy, the leading Polish 3D printing provider at the time, who was known for providing a very wide range of 3D services.

That move in 2014 was already seen as an attempt to establish a strong presence in Poland, after  Materialise previously did the same in the Czech Republic. “We see a lot of opportunities for growth in the Polish market and by joining Materialise, the e-Prototypy team looks forward to helping even more people in the region realize the benefits of the services and solutions we have to offer,” e-Prototypy co-founder Grzegorz Sworobowicz said at the time. “As part of Materialise, our customers will be given access to even better service with a larger range of 3D Printing technologies and they can benefit from Materialise’s 23 years of experience in this industry.”

As a result, Wrocław is already home to sales, accounting, IT and research and development departments, making it a logical location for this expansion. But according to local Materialise branch leader Piotr Adamczewski the effects of this new factory will be felt far beyond Poland as well. “We are concerned with maintaining a leading position in the global industry,” he said. “We expect to benefit from offering attractive prices, allowing us to more strongly compete in international markets while we are simultaneously improving our own technological and digital solutions.”

This new factory is thus a perfect opportunity for Materialise to extend their presence in the automotive, aerospace and medical industries. Materialise is already working with Airbus on 3D printed aircraft parts, and a larger factory will only contribute to the development of similar innovations. It will doubtlessly also strengthen their foothold in the consumer and design sectors.

But according to Adamczewski, they are particularly focused on medical care as well. “We are helping to develop new life-saving medical care solutions, in close collaboration with the surgeons themselves. One example of what we already achieved is the production of cardiac models for two patients in India – thanks to the 3D printed models, hitherto impossible surgeries could be meticulously planned and executed.” A lot more medical tools, all adapted to the individual needs of the patients, can thus be expected. Materialise is about to enter the next phase of their 3D printing life.

 

 

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Pissed Wester European wrote at 8/29/2016 3:06:43 PM:

Wroclaw in Eastern Europe? Huh?

Chris wrote at 8/11/2016 3:19:51 PM:

How can this be Europe's largest and most modern factory? "It’s a huge project that will cost several million zlotys (or several hundred thousand dollars) to complete. " That is hardly enough to purchase one industrial AM machine. Building and equipping a large 3D printing factory would cost several million Euro. And probably more than 50 people would be required to operate the machines and post-process parts.

Chris wrote at 8/11/2016 3:18:47 PM:

How can this be Europe's largest and most modern factory? "It’s a huge project that will cost several million zlotys (or several hundred thousand dollars) to complete. " That is hardly enough to purchase one industrial AM machine. Building and equipping a large 3D printing factory would cost several million Euro. And probably more than 50 people would be required to operate the machines and post-process parts.



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