Today, BCN3D announces its “new era” with next-generation 3D printers; we find out more specifics from the CEO.
The new introductions complete the current BCN3D portfolio, offering solutions for both the desktop and workbench segments.
BCN3D 3D Printers
The Barcelona-based company now offers focus in these two distinct segments.
For the desktop side, the Sigma line continues with the latest release, the Sigma D25. The Sigma Series now comprises the new Sigma D25, which BCN3D describes as “the next generation of the Sigmax R19, replacing the acclaimed Sigma and Sigmax 3D printers.”
That previous generation was introduced two years ago, targeting the systems more squarely at the professional 3D printing market with updates and improvements. The Sigma line features BCN3D’s impressive Independent Dual Extruder (IDEX) system, which remains a jewel in their tech portfolio.
Updates for the Sigma D25 “include enhanced heat distribution, a refined calibration process, new embedded electronics, a refined extrusion system and reinforced axes. It is engineered to provide maximum productivity for applications such as design prototypes, functional prototypes, and for educational and research purposes,” BCN3D explains.
On the workbench side is the Epsilon Series, first unveiled at last year’s Formnext and now renamed as the Epsilon W50, which is joined by the new, smaller Epsilon W27 and the new Smart Cabinet. The Epsilon systems are named for their build volumes of, respectively, 50 and 27 liters.
The Smart Cabinet is part of this workbench 3D printing ecosystem, integrating with the Epsilon 3D printer and “boosting its performance” with filament humidity control and an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect print jobs against power outages.
The new 3D printers are available now for pre-order, with availability slated for October 19 of this year; Smart Cabinet availability is set for sprint 2021.
BCN3D’s “New Era”
These sound like great product introductions, but do they really herald a next era? Curious about the truth behind the marketing, I went to the top, chatting with BCN3D CEO Xavier Martínez Faneca.
We started off talking about the new releases themselves. Following BCN3D’s official spinoff as an independent company in March 2019, the team “had some ideas that we wanted to put in place in a new product,” Faneca said. And so it was that they released the Epsilon late in the year.
“We had really good feedback from the market,” he continued. “We saw that our idea to have two different segments of 3D printing at different price points was proving itself. What we are doing now is completing this entire portfolio, adding one on the Epsilon Series and one machine on the Sigma Series.”
While there had been some recent worry that the Sigma Series could fall out of favor given the rising popularity of the Epsilon, fear not:
“On the Sigma Series, what we want to do is continue the job that the Sigma and Sigmax began in the past, offering a professional desktop machine you can see doing prototypes, and any kind of part,” Faneca said. “On the Epsilon Series, we see the machine in a workshop with building machines, alongside any kind of machine. There we want to make sure the customer has all the safety considerations and capability from a printer they need. With the Smart Cabinet, we want to control all the processes, and one part of the process is how you store the material, so we wanted to make sure the humidity on the spools is correct. We provide the UPS just in case your current goes down, so you can pause the printer without losing the job you’re doing. On the Epsilon Series what we’re doing is providing a full, complete solution, stacked, that you can recognize as soon as you get in the room. Everything on the 3D printing side is in that solution.”
With the portfolio filled out, BCN3D now plans to focus on these offerings for the next two years:
“The new era is having the whole portfolio in place, this is the biggest release we have made in our history. We are completing the portfolio, and this is a new era.”
BCN3D In 2020 And Beyond
Even with this announcement, the recent investment into the company, and the ongoing view that desktop 3D printing has a very bright future ahead, one thing is abundantly clear: 2020 is not a year for “business as usual” because we’re not living in the world as usual.
“Even during the pandemic, the whole team worked together to make it all possible. It was not an easy time,” Faneca said. “In some way, what we saw during the pandemic, while we were starting to manufacture the new product, was this: if you put 3D printing in good hands, it seems 3D printing can change a little bit of the world.”
BCN3D was among the 3D printing companies to offer its services to help in the global fight against the spread of the pandemic. The company offered its 63-printer farm for use in projects “that can contribute the most to the public benefit in these hard times.”
The use of their 3D printers and creation of the next-generation systems has certainly kept the BCN3D team busy this year, and it’s clear they’ve been learning substantially as they’ve gone.
“For those that want to make true some new ideas, these are the best models they can have. The printers have a range of users, making different kinds of parts, with different materials and different applications, with mirror functionality — there are a lot of features that let the people do a lot of things. We are happy; it has been hard, but also the products are able to help people,” an optimistic Faneca added.
Digging in a little bit to his mention of applications, I asked about some of the markets that might adopt these 3D printers.
“Obviously the printers are still [FFF] so by being [FFF] they are pretty generic. There are lots of markets that can acquire these types of machines. All the more technical markets, like automotive, aviation, these types of markets, will be drawn to the workbench systems with the Epsilon. Architects, education, and other vertical markets will buy the desktop series,” he said. “This is a good point for our portfolio: you can see the difference between machines, then define your field with one machine.”
One other thing to think on, he added, is that IDEX technology is still a major feature in both machine series.
“About 20% of our jobs done on the Epsilon right now are duplication or mirror, so we’re seeing a lot of use for low-batch production features in our printers. This is something that will be very important in the new machines,” Faneca said.
Further, all of the machines in the BCN3D portfolio will connect to their cloud services, which “is super important for us.” Up until this release, only the Epsilon has been connected to the cloud, but now the Sigma Series will also be connected, drawing from user feedback.
“The portfolio release for us is a new era. We know we can explore this portfolio in the next one or two years — and we have other areas to work on outside of this, with other ideas for the final user. It will be an exciting two years to expand the capabilities of the new portfolio,” Faneca said as we wrapped up our conversation. “Also on the materials side, partnerships like with BASF are providing with new materials for these two segments.”
Also notable: BCN3D has continued to grow. At the time of the spinoff last year, the team was about 40 employees strong — and since has more than doubled, standing strong as a team of 100, with plans to keep growing (“not at the same rate, but keep growing”).
“It’s been a good year,” Faneca said of the overall business. “We’ve been pushing hard.”