Jan 8, 2019
2019 is already upon us. That means there’s no better time to look back on our 3D printing highlights of last year, and to celebrate another 12 months of customer innovation. Keep reading for a quick rundown, and don’t miss our predictions for the new year.
The launch of the Ultimaker S5
In April at Hannover Messe, Germany, we released a new flagship 3D printer: the Ultimaker S5. With the biggest build volume ever in an Ultimaker, the S5 is rich with features to provide the ultimate experience in hassle-free desktop 3D printing.
The 3D printer impressed reviewers and customers alike:
- Chip magazine scored it 97/100, naming it “the new number one 3D printer on our leader board”
- All3DP dubbed it the “best dual extruder 3D printer in 2018”
- And after putting the machine through its paces around the clock, Adam Davis, Additive Engineer at Owens Corning, concluded:
The Ultimaker S5 is a workhorse, dedicated to the industrial environment.
At the same time, we also released Tough PLA: a new material with similar mechanical properties to ABS, but as easy to print as PLA. And if that wasn’t enough, the next day in Fort Worth, Texas, we announced something even bigger...
Our leading material alliance
Never before has a strategic alliance existed between a 3D printer manufacturer and multiple market-leading materials companies. So we thought Ultimaker should be the first.
In collaboration with BASF, Du Pont, DSM, Clariant, Owens Corning, and many more, our April promise became a September reality with the launch of the Ultimaker Cura Marketplace.
Now our customers have even greater access to more materials, with preconfigured 3D printing profiles developed by their own materials companies. This functionality means that professionals around the world can be confident when embedding 3D printing into their existing workflows.
CEO of Ultimaker, Jos Burger, is excited about the response to the Ultimaker Material Alliance’s announcement:
There has been a huge amount of interest, to the point that we now have over 60 companies joining this alliance
The new material range in the Ultimaker Cura Marketplace opens up huge possibilities in terms of material properties and 3D printed applications. The material profile library includes filaments with sophisticated properties, such as: carbon or glass fiber reinforcement, flame retardancy, electro-static discharge (ESD), UV resistance, and heat resistance. To enable the reliable 3D printing of composite materials on the Ultimaker S5, we also launched a new print core CC Red 0.6, which has a ruby-reinforced nozzle tip.
Sharing customer success
Throughout 2018, as part of their digital transformation and to retain their competitive edge, more and more companies invested in Ultimaker products to provide on-demand, local manufacturing. We heard fantastic stories from all over the world, including Make Architects in London, Florenradica in Italy, BOSEbuild in Massachusetts, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Ultimaker’s growth as a trusted source of easy-to-use 3D printing solutions has not gone unnoticed among global companies with a household name. Bosch, Ford, Airbus, L'Oréal, and Decathlon. Across such a variety of industries, this adoption is testament to the versatility of Ultimaker’s 3D printing technology – which is able to create a wide range of useful parts.
The number of use cases has quadrupled in 2018.
Said Jos, adding: “All these developments are creating a multiplier effect and I am delighted that key industrial players among the world's leading material companies have joined us in promoting and supporting 3D printing on a global scale.”
Event highlights in 2018
After Hannover, we attended events throughout the year. For example, Construct3D in Atlanta, Georgia and Formnext in Frankfurt, Germany. These exhibitions gave customers a chance to meet the Ultimaker team, and get a closer look at our 3D printing hardware, software, and materials.
One big difference in this year’s delegates was that we met fewer engineers interested only in the technical advantages of Ultimaker, and more managers and executives. Jos concluded that this change is thanks to the increasing maturity of 3D printing technology:
The 3D printing industry is clearly on the agenda of top-level executives and decision makers.
To help keep pace with this rapid industry growth, we will soon move to new, bigger offices in the center of the Netherlands. And to help businesses find the right solution and to strengthen our sales in the Asia-Pacific region, we opened new offices in Singapore.
Ultimaker also passed significant milestones in certification. In October, we celebrated achieving ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 in business management, which confirms our ability to provide high-quality products and services that are continuously improving.
Two months later, we gained 501(k) FDA approval for point-of-care 3D printing in US hospitals, using the Ultimaker S5 with Materialise’s Mimics inPrint software.
And our predictions for 2019?
The last 12 months have been a blast, and we promise that 2019 will be a year of exciting developments as part of the constantly changing 3D printing industry.
For Ultimaker, the coming year will be an important one as we seek to deliver leading 3D printing solutions that allow businesses to invest with greater confidence. Jos Burger noted, “ISO standards, quality guarantees, material qualification, workflow integration, and IT security are increasingly necessary to be accepted by companies and institutions as a key supplier of 3D printing solutions.”
It’s hardly a surprising prediction that 3D printing's adoption will continue to increase. But Jos expects a year of growth for Ultimaker not just because of the new designers and engineers joining the world’s production workforce:
The early adopters that evangelized 3D printing years ago are now taking leadership positions, and further solidifying the use of additive manufacturing technologies in their companies.
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