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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

Ultimaker Extends AM Reach

 
March 8th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

3D printing, or more accurately, additive manufacturing (AM), has come a long way since its inception, and especially the past few years. It also continues to grow at an amazing rate. IDC forecasts worldwide spending on 3D printing to be early $12 billion in 2018

A new update to the Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows global spending on 3D printing (including hardware, materials, software, and services) will be nearly $12.0 billion in 2018, an increase of 19.9% over 2017. By 2021, IDC expects worldwide spending to be nearly $20.0 billion with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5%.

Discrete manufacturing will be the dominant industry for 3D printing, delivering more than half of all worldwide spending throughout the 2017-2021 forecast. Healthcare providers will be the second largest industry with a spending total of nearly $1.3 billion in 2018, followed by education ($974 million) and consumer ($831 million). By 2021, IDC expects professional services and retail to move ahead of the consumer segment. The industries that will see the fastest growth in 3D printing spending over the five-year forecast are the resource industries and healthcare.

The leading use cases for 3D printing are prototypes, aftermarket parts, and parts for new products. As the primary use cases for the discrete manufacturing industry, these three use cases will account for 44% of worldwide spending in 2018.

As testament to this tremendous growth, this week, 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker announced that Robert Bosch GmbH, a leading global supplier of technology and services, will invest in Ultimaker 3 Extended printers on a global scale. After comparing several desktop 3D printers, the additive manufacturing department of Bosch selected Ultimaker as the most reliable, easy-to-use, and machine that produced the highest quality parts. The printers will now be used in different locations across GermanyHungaryChinaIndiathe United States and Mexico for printing innovative prototypes, tooling, jigs and fixtures, while cutting design and manufacturing costs.

Ultimaker Interview at Westec 2017

As the world’s largest supplier of automotive components and an important supplier of industrial technologies, consumer goods, and energy and building technology, Bosch, has a strategic objective to deliver innovative products. In order to save time and costs, and for a faster time-to-market for its new products, the company decided to invest in desktop 3D printing on a global scale. Now, with the Ultimaker rollout, all departments of the additive manufacturing department of Bosch can benefit from a uniform 3D printing solution with materials, training and global support. This approach will ensure consistent, quality 3D printing results across teams and locations.

“We are very happy that this well-respected, leading supplier of technology and services chose our desktop 3D printers after an intensive selection procedure by its Additive Manufacturing department,” said Jos Burger, CEO at Ultimaker. “The team at Ultimaker is working hard to make 3D printing accessible by continuously improving our hardware, software, materials and services. This global investment of Bosch confirms that our 3D printing ecosystem is ready to advance innovation on a global scale. The quality and speed of our service is the same in all countries, which helps our clients to go from an idea to manufacturing validation in just a few days, no matter where they are in the world.”

Ultimaker Joins General Electric’s Additive Education Program

Last month Ultimaker announced it would be included as a sponsor and a supplier to the GE Additive Education Program (AEP).

As part of the AEP, GE will invest $2 million over the next two years to subsidize desktop polymer printers for use on the Polar Cloud by primary and second schools, districts and systems around the world.  Priority will be given to institutions serving ages 8-18 with a strong commitment to Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) education. Packages include Polar Cloud-enabled polymer printers, professional training, educational modules and specific activities for primary and secondary schools across the globe.

Ultimaker shares GE’s goal to develop future talent in additive manufacturing and has Polar Cloud-enabled its machines to support the expansion of the AEP. “We are thrilled to have been asked and excited to participate in helping GE provide schools around the world with access to 3D printers,” stated John Kawola, President, Ultimaker North America.

Ultimaker has already made an impact in educational environments globally, from K-12 to higher education. In 2016, Ultimaker launched its Pioneer Program, which brings together educators to share content, curriculum, lessons, projects and best practices, and now has more than 100 global members.  In addition, Ultimaker is a founding sponsor of Construct3D, an education conference specifically tailored to desktop 3D printing.

“As we enter year two of the AEP, we have seen the benefits of enabling schools with additive technologies. Students are learning at a young age to use digital tools to help boost creativity and productivity, and to prepare themselves for the quickly-changing workplace,” stated Greg LaLonde, President, Polar 3D. “Ultimaker has a proven track record of making 3D printing affordable and accessible across broad bands of education and professional settings, and we’re proud to have them join the effort.”

Ultimaker Interview at SOLIDWORKS World 2017

On The AM Software Front

Not just a hardware company, the company recently released Ultimaker Cura 3.0, a new version of its slicing software which enhances the performance and accessibility of Ultimaker’s hardware, software, materials and services. Ultimaker Cura 3.0 is open for third-party plugins providing a seamless workflow integration between industry-standard CAD applications.

Last September, Ultimaker revealed a new software-centric strategy, announcing the release of regular software upgrades that will continuously enhance the existing hardware. The software provides Ultimaker users with an extended ecosystem that will continue to deliver positive results over time. The first release as part of this renewed strategy was Ultimaker Cura 3.0.

The key benefits of Ultimaker Cura 3.0 include:

  • CAD integration. Providing seamless workflow integration between industry-standard CAD applications such as SOLIDWORKS and Siemens NX.
  • Updated UI and UX design. New interface with a cleaner look and feel, a new color scheme, and intuitive sliders to control print settings.
  • New skin settings. The new skin settings (Skin Removal Width, Skin Expand Distance, Extra Skin Wall Count) result in less strings, better top details, and faster prints.
  • Faster start-up. Start-up speed has been cut in half. That means less time waiting and more time printing.

Paul Heiden, Senior VP of Product Management at Ultimaker: “The option for our partners to link their plugins with Ultimaker Cura 3.0 unlocks endless possibilities for professionals to fully make use of their 3D printers. Businesses can now create new workflows completely tailored to their specific products. The solutions created by our partners will offer us valuable insights to the desires and needs of end-users, which will help to guide us in the continuous innovation of our entire ecosystem, from hardware to software, materials and services.”

For more information on Ultimaker Cura 3.0 features, see blogpost here.

I’ve used Cura slicing software for AM and really appreciate the newest release, especially the updated UI and model manipulation capabilities when prepping a part for printing.

Ultimaker is a very interesting company whose reach extends to both the hardware and software realms.

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