Taking Basque manufacturing to the world and into the future at ADDIT3D
The first edition of ADDIT3D, now the leading trade fair for additive manufacturing in Spain organized by ADDIMAT, took place in Bilbao in 2015 and enjoyed significant success, with a total of 84 exhibitors. The following year, the 2016 edition of the show took place within BIEMH, a large biennial machine tool show with a global appeal. Even before COVID hit, ADDIT3D was emerging as one of the leading global appointments for AM. The ADDIT3D 2022 edition was again part of BIEMH and welcomed more than 100 exhibiting companies from 15 countries, with more than 230 products, services and innovations, and a full program of content, making this fair a powerful showcase for additive manufacturing with a global appeal .
This event also culminated the first part of 3dpbm’s tour of national AM shows, which began with 3D Print Lyon in France and continued with TCT3Sixty in the UK. The tour will continue after the summer with PiùAdditive in Milan, Italy, in October, and Formnext, in Germany, in November.
Like piùAdditive in Italy with AITA, ADDIT3D is organized by ADDIMAT, the Spanish Association of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Technologies, together with the Bilbao Exhibition Center (BEC). The fair also enjoys the collaboration and support of the Basque Government and its success is due to multiple factors. One is certainly the location: Bilbao is a welcoming city and the BEC is an ideal structure for this type of show, with large halls and many places to speak and conduct business in a relaxed atmosphere. The entire organization was very efficient. In addition, the Basque region has a strong tradition for metalworking and an equally strong industrial background.
ADDIT3D is a trade fair adapted to the most innovative solutions for all additive processes, featuring 3D printing equipment manufacturers, industrial applications, raw materials, consumables, 3D printing services, software, 3D scanners, R&D and training. Many verticals of additive manufacturing are represented, including industrial applications, associations and publishing companies, consumables, scanners, education and training, research & development, materials, services, systems & machinery and software are all present.
ADDIT3D is, of course, primarily a national show. The local resellers are among the main players, representing many international brands who look with great interest to the Spanish and Basque market and in many cases decided to participate directly. We had the opportunity to meet with Filament2Print, which we identified as a key supplier of materials and specifically pellet materials for AM, as we were conducting research for 3dpbm Research’s upcoming Polymer AM market report. As we discovered, the company distributes dozens of top brands in AM, including several top-quality brands such as Sinterit, TreeD, CEAD, BASF and many more.
Other important local resellers present at the ADDIT3D 2022 included 3DZ, the Italian company now also present in Spain as a key distributor of 3D Systems and Markforged products and Excelencia-Tech, a company that we were not previously familiar with but met as a distributor of Stratasys and Xact Metal. Other large distributors in Spain include Sicnova 3D, one of the first companies in Spain to be big on 3D printing, and Maquinser, which recently emerged as a leading reseller of HP and Carbon products. In this approach the company is similar to its Southern European counterparts, Eprpro Group in France and Dedem (Selltek) in Italy.
Said of the resellers, some relevant 3D printing product brands that target international markets also took the opportunity to be present directly at ADDIT3D 2022, looking to reach the thriving Basque and to a greater extent the entire Spanish AM market. These included Polish industrial 3D printer manufacturer OMNI 3D (participating in partnership with its French reseller ERM) and Italian 3D printer manufacturer Roboze. Another company looking with great interest to the Spanish market was Italian metal 3D printer manufacturer Prima Additive: the company participated in the larger BIEMH so it was in a different hall, with large machine tool manufacturers, with its partner Prima Energy. Nippon Gases also chose the ADDIT3D 2022 stage to present many of its products targeting the AM segment in particular, from inert gases to metal wire and material handling.
Hacia el mundo
ADDIT3D 2022 is also an ideal platform for several Spanish companies that target international markets to show off their product to a broad and growingly international audience of visitors. For 3dpbm it was a great opportunity to meet with several companies that in many cases we have known for many years but never had the opportunity to interact with directly and discover some fascinating applications. These companies belonged to several different types. For example, GH Induction is an end-user of EBM technology to produce complex copper inductors. Some of the products on display made a great case for AM in terms of accelerating production by reducing subassemblies and enabling more effective geometries. So much so that, as a company representative explained to us, the operational life of 3D printed inductors is up to twenty times longer than a traditionally manufactured one.
Another very interesting manufacturer of advanced AM parts is AENIUM, a Spanish design and AM service provider specializing in aerospace parts. In particular, the company is working with Pangea Aerospace to develop the long-sought-after aerospike nozzle for rocket engines, using AM and the GRCop42 copper alloy material. The aerospike engine can radically transform space propulsion thanks to higher efficiency (up to 15% than currently used rocket engines), reusability capabilities and very low-cost and rapid manufacturing. We also discovered more service providers that we had not previously known about. For example, MADIT (a metal service provider using Renishaw systems) and MAUSA, a company specializing in polymer and metal AM for tooling applications.
In terms of hardware, we had the opportunity to meet with one of the most exciting companies in the AM global AM scenario, even if it generally moves behind the scenes and has not yet generated a lot of hype around its progress: Triditive. While not exhibiting with a booth, during ADDIT3D Triditive announced it closed a new 5.8 million financing round and we had the opportunity to discuss this with the company’s CEO Mariel Diaz, who anticipated several more big projects on the horizon.
SAMYLABS is another local hardware company that we had never heard about before. It is a Basque company founded at the end of 2016 to develop metal PBF 3D printers in metal laser technology. It is in fact the first Spanish company to design, manufacture and market printers using this technology. It is currently located in the BIC Ezkerraldea business development center in Barakaldo, Bizkaia and its stated goal is to make metal 3D printing accessible by reducing the costs of PBF technology, bringing it to more small companies, training centers and universities.
There were no major materials companies present directly, either for polymers (BASF, Evonik, Solvay…) or for metals (Sandvik, AP&C, Carpenter, etc.) so that could be an interesting area for the show’s organizers ADDIMAT and BEC to develop further . The most relevant company that we saw was Smart Materials 3D, a medium-sized filament and resin manufacturer with an international reach – in particular towards other European and LATAM markets.
The most impressive application seen at ADDIT3D 2022 was from Navantia, a Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company, that is the fifth-largest shipbuilder in Europe and the ninth-largest in the world. The naval giant presented a giant composite and 3D printed naval rudder produced by Cefan, the Centro de Excelencia de Fabricación Aditiva (Center of Excellence for Additive Manufacturing) using several large parts 3D printed using a system from a local LFAM 3D printer system manufacturer and then wrapped in composites. The company also said it is currently in the process of acquiring a Masterprint LFAM system from Camozzi.
In general, the Spanish market is very active in AM research and development, not just from companies but also from academic and state or regional funded institutions. Organizations such as THE AIDIMME Technological Institute in Valencia and IAM 3DHUB in Barcelona are working to drive education and help different companies network and collaborate towards the development of AM projects and application cases. IAM 3DHUB is a perfect example. Many of the companies that have joined the project – HP, Renishaw, BASF and others – enjoy widespread adoption and growth in the Spanish market, building a strong base to further expand globally and into the future.