Top 5 promising 3D printing startups
IDC analysts predict the 3D technology market growth by 23.2% in 2019 ($14 billion by value). What new three-dimensional printing projects have become successful over the past three years and why?
Kwambio startup. Ceramic printing
The Odesa project has developed its own Ceramo One printer for 3D printing of ceramic products. idea of such a unique high-accuracy method caught investors’ attention and, as the result, the project received $500 000 from Empire State Capital Partners and Impulse VC venture funds.
Raised investments were put into the printer creation and improvement of equipment used at Odesa-based factory. The printer allows to reduce the prime cost of ceramic product manufacturing and apply an expanded color pallet for the ready-made object.
Besides, Kwambio has designed powders for printing industrial samples in the airspace sector. The startup already obtains orders from the USA, in particular from General Electric. Elon Musk is also interested in the printer’s capability to produce high-quality ceramic elements.
Relativity Space startup. Space printing
One has long been printing certain elements of spacecrafts and planes on industrial 3D printers. However, the founders of the US-based Relativity Space startup have taken an even more fundamental approach to this issue: they are going to create an entire missile using the Stargate printer.
Since 2015, the company’s project has raised $45 million. It is this year that the developers are going to test a printed engine. Moreover, Relativity Space has signed an agreement with NASA on the possibility to utilize the space agency platform for testing missiles within 20 years.
The innovative concept supposes that 3D printed technology will allow to make missiles faster, decreasing the amount of its components from 100 000 to less than 1000 pieces. Relativity Space founders are ex-employees of SpaceX.
Markforged startup. High-speed printing
A new way of 3D printing based on carbon fiber was presented by Markforged from Boston. Siemens, Microsoft Ventures, and many other companies invested about $30 million in this solution. It is unique because of the incredibly high speed of printing. In comparison with common 3D printers, this device completes the given task 50 times faster.
PassivDom startup. Word’s warmest house
The project was publicly introduced in 2016. Ukrainian Maxim Gerbut, the Founder and CEO of PassivDom, offers the world a specially developed smart home model partially printed on the 3D printer. The special feature of such a house is that it is completely under self-sustainment: electricity is generated by solar batteries on the roof. Indoor climate is regulated using smart technologies. The maximum cost of the off-the-shelf house is €60 000. startup has already obtained several thousand pre-orders. By the way, the project founders are included in the top 100 innovators of Eastern and Central Europe (Google and Financial Times).
An order for this house can be made in the USA and Ukraine. The creators are going to produce approximately 100 houses per year. A distinctive aspect of the solution is dwelling mobility and ability to keep warm pretty well. The latter is provided by carbon fiber and glass reinforced plastic walls made on the 3D printer.
Apis Cor startup. Future houses
One more project aimed at making homes more comfortable, available, and reliable. Russia-based Apis Cor has projected a powerful 3D printer: automatic and extremely mobile. The device can print a small 40 sq. m. house just in 24 hours right on site. The printer is also able to supply the mixture on its own. Its small size and programmability significantly reduce labor costs. Moreover, it requires almost no human participation in the construction process.
This house costs $10 000, with expenses for its production decreasing by 30% in comparison with conventional building methods. The project is a prize winner in the contest organized by the business-incubator of High School of Economics.
Today, the most promising 3D printing projects are related to construction and industrial sectors, which require the speed and maximum growth in production. Great attention is also paid to the search for new, super strength materials and the development of advanced 3D printing methods.