Europe Steps Up in Filament Manufacturing with Fillamentum and Dr3D

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The Eastern European 3D printing scene is already vibrant with designers such as parametric | art, 3D printing services like Gigamax 3D, and quite a few 3D printer manufacturers, primarily out of Poland (Zortrax, Zmorph and Pirix). There is even a 3D printing conference (Budapest 3D Printing Days) generally taking place in early summer. Now Fillamentum and DrD3, two 3D printer filament manufacturers based on very different business models, are making their way in the European 3D printing industry, hailing from Poland and the Czech Republic.

I believe that Fillamentum’s products are qualitatively considered among the very best in Eastern Europe and internationally. The company is based in the town of Hulin and is a branch of Parzlich, a joint venture established in 2011 by several plastic companies to produce extruded tubes and profiles made from polymeric materials.

Among its products, Fillamentum offers a wide range of exclusive colors and types of materials. The more common are ABS and PLA, which include luminous, pearl, gold, silver and other exotic coloring. Both HIPS and PVA are also included, while the more unique product offer is the Timberfill line of wood based filament, available in Light Wood Tone (such as the one used to make the highly recognizable Akemake Spirula speaker) and Cinnamon. Fillamentum is also the only company to offer AVA, a material used for functional parts that are more resistant than those made with ordinary ABS.

Dr3D takes a radically different approach. The company is still focusing on the quality of the final product to differentiate itself from the many competitors in the East and, just like Fillamentum,  extrudes and produces its own spools. To fuel its growth, Dr3D has established its headquarters and operational center in the UK, near Bristol, while the manufacturing plant is in Poland, as a way to both assure rapid delivery and quality control. The selection is, however, currently confined to the most common types of materials and colors.

I met Martin Walczak, the company’s founder, twice, at the 3D Printshow in September and the recent 3D Printing Summit and both times he impressed me with his in depth knowledge of materials and his desire to keep testing and developing new ones, as the desktop 3D printing industry grows to encompass new polymer based technologies.

Industry research firm Markets&Markets recently released a new report stating that the materials market will almost triple in size by 2019, reaching $1.052 billion, and that Europe will fight it out directly with Asia for market dominance in this part of the world. Considering these two companies, there may be enough to go around for all.

Source: DavidSher for 3dprintingindustry.com

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