PostProcess Technologies announced plans for major European expansion with the help of a significant investment.
The Buffalo, NY-based company manufactures and provides a series of hardware and software solutions for post processing industrial 3D prints. This area is of growing interest by those using additive manufacturing technologies due to the troubles of post processing, mostly caused by support structures still attached to almost every 3D print.
Additive Manufacturing Post Processing
While 3D printer manufacturers constantly improve their equipment, what rarely improves is the post print activities, which are typically still done manually by many operators. It makes less financial sense to increase automation through 3D printing while increasing the manual labor required to post process the prints.
That’s the niche the aptly-named PostProcess Technologies seeks to dominate. Their product line includes a selection of devices to not only automatically remove support materials, but also refine the surface finish on 3D prints.
This is accomplished through a combination of agitation, washing, submersion and chemistry, all controlled by sophisticated software to achieve optimum results.
Currently they market five different support removal devices that use spray or submersion approaches for support removal, and another three different devices for refining surface finish. One additional device is a “hybrid” that can perform both support removal and surface finishing within the same frame.
The announcement today covers the company’s plans for a major expansion in Europe, where there is dramatically increasing use of additive manufacturing.
The fuel for the expansion is a new investment of US$20M in a Series-B round. According to my research, it seems that the company has previously received just over US$10M in prior investment rounds, making this a very significant increase in cash for the company.
PostProcess European Plans
What do they intend to do with the money? It seems they have two objectives in their European plan.
First, they are building a “FINISH3D Benchmarking Lab” in the south of France. This facility will provide a means for European clients and prospects to obtain training, test solutions on a variety of different types of 3D printed parts. PostProcess says this facility will essentially be a mirror of their previously successful benchmarking facility in Buffalo, NY.
Secondly, PostProcess is expanding their network of European resellers. They’ve made arrangements with two large players, KMC and CYLAOS. CYLAOS, a French engineering firm, will resell PostProcess products in that country, while KMC will resell surface finishing products in the north.
This investment is significant, as it demonstrates confidence in the growth of additive manufacturing, where automation will be required. If additive manufacturing is to take a bigger piece of the total manufacturing pie, then the amount of post processing should follow proportionately.