3D Printing

3D Metalforge and Ultimaker to launch FFF print facility

24th August 2020
Alex Lynn

Ultimaker and 3D Metalforge have announced their partnership and launch of Southeast Asia's largest industrial FFF printing facility. The new facility will offer industrial-grade, fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printing from Ultimaker's professional S-Line 3D printers, providing a complete ecosystem of certified 24/7 printers, engineering materials, 3D print fleet management and 3D print preparation software.

Against the backdrop of increasing demand for 3D-printed parts, this will enable 3D Metalforge to ramp up its printing capabilities for its clients in the defence, maritime, medical, and the oil and gas industries.

The print facility, located in the western part of Singapore, comprises 21 units of Ultimaker S3 3D printers. Metalforge decided to invest in FFF 3D printers with Ultimaker, due to the latter's partnerships with large globally operating material companies through the Material Alliance, an open platform that consists of more than 45 brands and 150+ material types. This has enabled 3D Metalforge to broaden its offerings, catering to diverse needs and requirements in different sectors. It is currently printing various parts required for COVID-19-related projects.

3D printing which is also known as additive manufacturing (AM), is suitable for such projects as there are limitations to traditional manufacturing – the challenge of tight deadlines, and rapidly changing design parameters. Additionally, AM is more suited for high-mix, low-volume production, common factors necessitated by the changes brought on by the pandemic.

As part of its expansion plans and upcoming projects with its customers, 3D Metalforge is looking to recruit eight trainees from The SGUnited Traineeships Programme as well as add another four engineers to its team. Through this programme, 3D Metalforge seeks to build a workforce with future-ready skills in AM, which is poised to take a more prominent role post-pandemic.

The launch of this facility has also helped 3D Metalforge realise and manage the local, distributed additive manufacturing vision with Ultimaker's Digital Factory software platform, a remote 3D print fleet management system. This means that the company could potentially divert its production capability from Singapore to its upcoming facility in the US, or vice versa, to meet customer demand. This serves to create a more sustainable and agile supply chain.

"We deal with clients from blue-chip companies that have stringent criteria on the production of end-use parts. It is thus imperative that we invest in reliable FFF 3D printers that can meet our needs and benchmarking standards," said Matthew Waterhouse, CEO of 3D Metalforge. "Ultimaker also has an open solution that allows us to work with over 150 materials. This has enabled us to experiment and/or print with the most suitable material, depending on customers' needs. Furthermore, I am pleased with the excellent after-sales support that I have received to date."

Benjamin Tan, Vice President of Ultimaker APAC added: "We are pleased to be selected as the partner of choice by 3D Metalforge. As an established 3D printing company, Ultimaker offers a comprehensive solution to FFF 3D printing needs with its superior printers, industry-leading 3D print preparation and management software, and open material programme.

"With FFF 3D printing, lead time is often halved, as compared to conventional methods like injection moulding. This allows companies to have quicker go-to-market strategies. A printed prototype also allows close examinations for modifications, and customisations before embarking on mass-printing. This helps companies save costs before committing to bulk print orders. We are confident that Ultimaker is well-poised to support 3D Metalforge's journey in FFF 3D printing."

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