How 3D Printing is Changing the Face of Manufacturing and Supply Chains
INTAMSYS Technology, Inc.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing is changing the world of manufacturing at a rapid pace, so when COVID-19 crashed global supply chains, INTAMSYS Technology, Inc. set out to help by harnessing the best that this incredible technology has to offer. The company thus enables fabricators to control their supply chains in a radically new way.
INTAMSYS Technology, Inc. provides multiple industries with the best industrial 3D printers and components available today. It is, therefore, not surprising that Porsche Investments chose to partner with the company late last year.
Manufacturers are increasingly moving toward this technology for cost-effective solutions to complex component needs, creating everything from machinery parts to tooling, jigs, fixtures, and even prototypes. International firms in sectors such as aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, battery developers, and even healthcare and defense trust INTAMSYS for its attention to detail and for saving them ranging from 50 percent to as high as 80 percent on traditional operating costs.
The company is an industrial 3D printing machine fabricator offering clients value-added services like parts printing. Furthermore, its well-stocked materials division carries everything that 3D printing customers need, with a wide range of printing filaments and about thirty high-performance polymers used to create high-durability parts. It also offers the software needed to drive the 3D printing fabrication process.
The company takes quality seriously. As a result, its polymer products are mechanically and thermally sound with high chemical resistance. These polymers give 3D-printed parts sufficient strength to make them the perfect substitute for metal components.
Paul Carlson, INTAMSYS’ Vice President for the Americas, says that the company created an ‘eco-system’ that renders its 3D printing systems “incredibly easy to use and implement.” Some of its polymers are even strong enough to be used in place of materials such as aluminum. The company also prides itself on the exceptionally low ownership cost that is typical of its systems and sets it apart from others in the field.
While based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company also operates from Stuttgart, Germany and Shanghai, China, supported by nearly one hundred distribution partners that sell and service its products and train clients around the world on its products. These 3D printer polymer solutions provide clients with often unexpected pluses. Fabricators are now able to produce high-tolerance components fast and on-demand, and each printed unit is typically lighter than its traditional metal counterpart, translating into significant fuel cost savings during transport.
“With fuel prices where they are today, pulling weight out of any product is most certainly advantageous. It also helps from an ergonomic perspective,” Carlson says, noting that “Shifting from metal to plastic can make a sizeable difference.”
For those concerned about the safety of such polymers used in airplane components, we have good news. Created by chemical manufacturing company Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (also known as SABIC), the materials used for ULTEM™ 9085 resin strictly adhere to strict safety standards, giving them high flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) ratings. It also means that such interior polymer components as tray tables or armrests are manufactured from specialized substances approved for this purpose.
Another advanced use for its products is in hydroforming in which molds are made from high-performance polymers and placed inside a hydroforming machine that forces sheet metal over and into the mold cavities using high-pressure water jets.
The company was founded in 2013 as a high-performance plastic parts manufacturer and was well-known by that time in several industries. The first polymer it used was polyether ether ketone (PEEK) but the founders strove to enhance and improve on the original recipe, soon setting INTAMSYS Technology, Inc. up as a respected industry expert.
“Once we figured out that particular material, adding to that capability with other high-performance materials became easier. It’s like training and running a marathon,” Carlson says. “After you’ve accomplished what is [challenging], other things require less effort, so we were able to add a lot of other types of materials to the portfolio and built upon that,” he adds.
As soon as the company had established itself within the realm of advanced polymers and the host of possibilities that it opened, its scope became significantly wider. Suddenly, the new materials’ improved weight and pressure-bearing capabilities, higher heat resistance, and impressive chemical resistance brought about myriad new uses and a host of potential new components.
Its foresight and innovation secured the company a coveted and well-maintained relationship with Porsche, the engine and luxury vehicle manufacturer. Porsche “started as a customer. They bought products from us. They used those products as they implemented 3D printing throughout their organization. They saw the value in INTAMSYS,” says Carlson. “So much that, following that experience, they wanted to build an even stronger relationship with us. In late 2021, they became an investor of ours.”
It was, naturally, a marvelous moment for the company. “Having the backing of the automotive company and the manufacturer of some the highest performance automobiles in the world is completely flattering and a significant strength for us as we move forward and continue to grow the organization,” he continues.
The team’s penchant for innovation goes beyond technology. When COVID-19 presented it with all the pressures that came with the shelter-in-place period, its team’s ideas helped it thrive, and it could rely on its internal systems to support the booming sales volumes of that period. As it turned out, failing supply chains led domestic companies to turn to 3D printing to solve dire component needs. Not only could these companies provide for their clients’ needs, but they could do so in a timely way as the technology allows design teams to collaborate remotely while printing and shipping parts with ease.
Now, as supply chain challenges persist, INTAMSYS Technology, Inc. is growing rapidly as increasing numbers of clients arrive with component and 3D printing needs. End users’ needs are being met well, and control is put back into the hands of fabricators while bringing manufacturing back home.
“And we have practiced that ourselves. With the recent lockdown in China, it became very difficult to source spare parts for customers. As [China] had issues, we were able to design and build spare parts on our system and ship those to customers to keep them moving,” Carlson notes. Its creative thinking was a boon to its customers, local economies, and gross domestic product.
“We practice what we preach. When you look at some of our products, like the FUNMAT PRO 410, it has over forty components directly manufactured using 3D printing, and we use our own 3D printers to do that, he says, stating that this is one of the company’s greatest strengths.
Its newest industrial printer model, the FUNMAT PRO 610HT is also its most advanced. Built to last and ready to take on the future, this beast of a machine handles all thermal plastic materials available, thanks to the company’s open-materials approach on all its machines that allows customers to obtain their materials from anywhere they like. Customers are free to decide how they want to run their machines and free to buy whatever materials they want from whoever is selling. In this way, INTAMSYS remains true to its promise of infinite potential.
As a relatively young company, its pioneering can-do spirit remains one of its greatest strengths. Not one to rest on its laurels, it has responded to the increased demand for its products by employing even more top-notch talent and applying its technology to the utmost. Its team of 120 people makes it adaptable and fast enough to respond to market demands and client needs. Everyone is motivated to cultivate exceptional relationships, both in-house and with customers.
Every one of its customers is assured of its team’s full attention and commitment to outstanding service delivery of the best solutions. “We can’t say enough good things about the great team that we have built. We’re all aligned in our mission which is to… transform and revolutionize the way products are made and the manufacturing process in general,” Carlson says, pointing out that the company is lucky enough to have some of the smartest, most talented, and best-qualified people collaborating on teams around the world.
This diverse workforce spans generations, bringing fresh mission-oriented energy to everything it does. This is one of its greatest drivers as the daily input, decisions, and dedication of every one of its staff members counts toward its overall success.
Looking toward changing trends and years to come, the company’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Charles Han is positive about current market trends, stating that the manufacturing industry is undergoing “a transformational process from traditional production to mass customization—a leaner, more customized model of production. Manufacturing in the future will become more flexible and agile to meet the needs of today’s customers.”
The company foresees 3D printing technology leading the way in what Han calls a revolution. “INTAMSYS is excited to be at the forefront of this revolution and will continue to invest in innovation and in our customers to help reshape the future of manufacturing,” he says. The company’s plans are decisive and focused on well-strategized expansion. By continuously improving the effectiveness of its software and the versatility of its materials and their applications, the company already meets the future of 3D printing head-on.