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  2. A big niche in 3D printing

A big niche in 3D printing

At first glance, 3D printing is a broad, horizontal technology. But each industry has unique requirements. Sometimes a company turns a specialized technique into a large niche market.

The technologies in 3D printing provide value to many industries. Stereolithography and curing of resins, DLP and photopolymers, Fused Deposit Modelling (FDM) with thermoplastics, inkjet techniques using binder agents (binder jetting) or photopolymers (material jetting), and direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) share the characteristic of being additive manufacturing processes, but the techniques and the materials vary significantly which makes certain processes more applicable to one application or another. 

Voxeljet in Germany manufactures 3D printing products which focus on printing casting molds for industrial applications. With this focus, it is not surprising that voxeljet uses the binder-jetting method and print using sand and plastics.  Their printers can generate either plastic parts or sand parts in very large sizes, or many parts of a more modest size. The key point being the industrial target for casting production molds.  

At Frankfurt's Formnext 2015 trade show, voxeljet presented their range of printers, including the VX1000.  With a price of $1 million, it is not surprising that the company also provides a 3D printing service using the technology.  In fact the parts on demand business is running ahead of the 3D printing systems revenue for 2015.   And while Formnext in Frankfurt is a perfect event to meet German customers, voxeljet's service department would have been interested in meeting international customers as the company has established service centers in the USA and in the UK. 

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