In a briefing earlier today I learned about INTAMSYS’ plans for 2021, and they are quite ambitious.
The Shanghai-based company is not that far from a startup, having been founded only in 2013. Today, after two significant funding rounds, we find the company quite established in the market. With a current staff of around 70 individuals, they have been able to place something in excess of 1500 industrial 3D printers into companies worldwide, and hope to ship many more in the coming year.
Their focus is and has been to develop and deliver material extrusion production 3D printers, with a bit of an emphasis on the high-temperature variety, as that type comprises the majority of their product line.
Currently, the company offers several high-temperature 3D printers capable of handling functional materials such as PEEK, PAEK, ULTEM, etc., but recently they also introduced a non-high-temperature device, the FLEX 510, which is designed to 3D print two types of flexible TPU material within the same print job. While this machine isn’t capable of high temperatures, it is in line with their production objectives.
INTAMSYS and COVID-19
This year the company, like everyone else, had to deal with the pandemic. Fortunately, INTAMSYS found their orders were quite secure. VP EMEA Bart Leferink explained:
“Capital is sticky, but projects on our order list from a year ago are hardly being cancelled. It just takes a bit longer to complete. This is an enormous indicator that people are taking this [3D print production] seriously.”
What exactly are these INTAMSYS clients doing? It turns out the pandemic has shuffled the industrial situation and INTAMSYS has been able to help them through the difficulties. INTAMSYS CEO Charles Han explained:
“The Global supply chain has been blocked sometimes, and only after some time companies made their supply chains smooth. They did this by using 3D printers to provide regional manufacturing. COVID-19 will help 3D printing users realize importance of the technology and optimize supply chains. In the long term regional manufacturing will develop, as well as most global supply chains.”
“Covid-19 will probably disappear next year.”
I hope so too.
Leferink described what INTAMSYS is seeing with their clients:
“Lots of people are now printing their own spare parts: wheels, hinges, etc. We see that more and more, all to reduce dependencies, like waiting for six weeks for a part to be replaced. We see that quite a lot, next to tooling. They are trying to keep the factory running, and an enormous number of INTAMSYS machines sold are for that purpose.
We’re seeing some short runs of customized parts. It is very strong with the FLEX 510 machine for knitwear, inlays, footwear, with multiple TPUs per job. You have a production run of ‘one’.”
They say they are looking forward to seeing what these applications teach them about customization and how this could be applicable to other markets.
INTAMSYS in 2021
For 2021 the company has announced an ambitious series of initiatives, all of which are designed to help the company grow strongly.
They’re launching an “Enterprise Sales Strategy”, in which they will be reaching out to up to 250 companies directly to gain contacts and establish professional relationships, presumably for future sales.
INTAMSYS will add to their two regional sales offices, based in Stuttgart and Minneapolis, by building application centers. In these facilities they will not only be able to physically demonstrate their equipment, but also provide training for the equipment and its operating processes.
These facilities will also be likely used in a new “3D Printing Service Network”. The idea here is that some potential clients may be unsure of the technology and instead of buying a machine initially, they can instead make use of a service to provide them with advanced 3D printed parts. If they like the results, they may become buyers at a later time. This service apparently will also involve existing clients who are willing to participate.
They will also create a new Materials Business Unit in 2021. Already they have partnered with ten different major chemical companies, but it seems they will be getting far deeper into advanced functional materials with this unit on board.
Finally, they’re developing a 5-10 person Application Development Team to help identify solutions for specific vertical industries. For example, they can develop FLEX 510 solutions with the footwear industry, and perhaps eventually the fashion industry itself.
Finally, they hope to announce not one, but two new high-temperature 3D printers in 2021. The intent here is to fill some market gaps with their existing lineup, as some clients might not want build volumes so large or small, or need the extreme high temperatures available on some equipment. It sounds like there will be more variations of existing technology available, rather than new technology being announced.
That’s quite a list of tasks for next year, and I asked INTAMSYS how they were funding it. They said they have had two significant investment rounds previously, but admitted they will probably be seeking additional rounds in the future. However, with sales spiking, it may be that they can fund themselves with their own cash flow.
It sounds to me like INTAMSYS will be quite a bit larger by the end of 2021.