3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the design and production of products in many areas. It allows for the manufacturing of objects with a wide variety of shapes using materials such as plastic or metal, and offers many advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. The industrial sector, in particular, offers a growing market for the use of 3D printing.
voxel4U aims to take advantage of this by offering state-of-the-art industrial 3D printing services. The company utilizes the Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology from HP, which is similar to the process used in inkjet printers. A digital 3D model of the product serves as a template. Ink marks the areas where a component will be created, and then a layer of PA12 (nylon) powder is deposited and fused using infrared radiation. This process connects the plastic and creates 3D objects in any desired shape in a short amount of time, built up from thousands of small layers. Complex and customized components can thus be manufactured almost without restriction.
Unlimited possibilities with 3D printing
“The properties of the 3D parts are comparable to an injection-molded part,” explains CEO Robert Grünwald. The high accuracy and resolution, as well as the time-saving printing, make it possible not only to produce prototypes but also series and small series. voxel4U produces a wide range of parts, including orthopedic parts, mechanical components, brackets, display frames, electronic enclosures, and more. “There are almost no limits,” says Robert Grünwald. “Almost anything is possible, from decorative or technical to cosmetic parts.”
As an example, Grünwald cites the orthopedic field. Orthoses, or braces, and prostheses are unique products, as they are customized to the customer’s needs. In individual production, this is very expensive and time-consuming – in contrast to 3D printing, where even unique products can be produced inexpensively.
In addition to its cost advantages, 3D printing offers many other benefits over traditional manufacturing methods. Development and production costs are reduced, for example, because assembly work is eliminated. Parts that must be separately designed and assembled in traditional manufacturing can be produced as a single assembly using 3D printing. Modern 3D printing also offers high geometry and design freedom. The fast production time enables production on demand, resulting in shorter delivery times and lower inventory costs.
Voxel4U fills market gap
Despite this, many companies are still hesitant to use 3D printing due to the complete change in the traditional design process. This hinders them from taking advantage of the benefits of 3D printing. Voxel4U wants to change that. At the beginning of 2020, Robert Grünwald and Peter Weiss founded the company together with MTW Metalltechnik to offer modern industrial 3D printing and fill a gap in the market. “As soon as customers see the finished product from the 3D printer, they are thrilled and usually come up with new ideas on how they can use 3D printing for themselves. The companies that have recognized the potential keep coming back,” says technical director Peter Weiss.
The printed parts can also be further processed and refined at Voxel4U. Grinding, coloring, or painting: The Abtenau-based company carries out many post-processing activities so that customers receive a finished end product.
Innovation needs innovation
This already convinces many Salzburg companies. For example, the companies SW Automatisierung and medPhoton, which were named among the most innovative companies in 2020, also rely on 3D printing. This shows that innovative companies also need other innovative companies to remain market leaders. “With voxel4U’s 3D printing, we have been able to optimize some assemblies and processes with rapid prototyping to quickly implement and test innovations. But even in series production, changes to complex and highly accurate elements are reliably and quickly possible, which gives us a speed advantage in the market,” says Heinz Deutschmann, CEO of medPhoton.