The future is in 3D

10/29/15 11:30 AM

/ Blog

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A little over a year ago the media wrote about a Chinese company using a giant 3D printer to print out ten houses in one day. Soon after that, a Finnish company said they were starting to 3D print building elements in concrete. Even a human heart has been 3D printed.

“Industrial 3D printing has come a long way. The prototypes, tools, and even manufacturing the end products are already a reality. Companies are using more and more 3D printing in research, product development, and manufacturing,” says one of the owners of Grano, Risto Ojala.

Tangibility

Grano is among the trendsetters of 3D printing. According to Ojala, the technology can bring added value to the manufacturing industry, design, and sales promotion. 3D printing brings a virtual model to life.

“The 3D images we used to scroll on the screen become real objects that you can touch, test, and look at from different angles in a way that’s completely different from just seeing it on the screen. 3D printing allows us to entirely renew the way we think about different structures.”

Ojala, like many other 3D experts, is somewhat annoyed by the 3D excitement on the consumer market. People think 3D printing is about everyone having a 3D printer at home and being able to print out whatever they want. This is still far from being a reality. Developing usable consumer printers will take years, agrees research company Gartner. 

Equipment, support, materials

Grano’s 3D printing services produce, among other things, prototypes, master castings and moulds, as well as various models for marketing, sales, and exhibition purposes. The company also has the competence for printing demanding objects where particular durability for heat or chemicals is required.

“We offer the device, support, and materials, meaning that we also sell the 3D printer to the customer to utilise once they become familiar with the idea of 3D printing.”

To make the customer succeed

Gartner estimates that within a few years, over 13 billion dollars will be used on a global level on 3D printers and printing materials. Already last year the sum was over one billion dollars. The possibilities of 3D printing seem endless.

“We have been involved in the 3D projects of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University for a few years now, which has allowed us to familiarise ourselves with the experts and technologies in the field and thus gain a good understanding of the state and needs of the 3D printing industry. The possibilities for development are amazing, and Grano is running steadily in the foreground of the development. This, like all our other services, is all about wanting to advance the business operations of our customers.”

Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen

Read more about the possibilities predicted for 3D printing by the ADDlab of the Aalto University.

Case Aalto-yliopisto