Ultimaker announced a new but familiar material for their industrial 3D printing platform: PETG.
The company recently announced a strategy switch where they would focus more on being a platform rather than a provider of hardware, which was their original goal. This came after years of experience with clients who require a complete and seamless end-to-end solution. The platform strategy allows Ultimaker to create an ecosystem in which that smooth integration can easily occur, according to new Ultimaker CEO Jürgen von Hollen.
The ecosystem comprises not only the Ultimaker hardware — 3D printers and associated gear — but also materials, print profiles, software and processes.
Today Ultimaker announced the availability of a new material to fit into that ecosystem: Ultimaker PETG. They explain:
“Ultimaker has created and extensively tested material profiles to ensure a hassle-free, reliable PETG experience on its 3D printers. PETG, a Glycol Modified version of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), is one of the top three materials used for 3D printing, according to Ultimaker’s 2021 3D Printing Sentiment Index.”
Ultimaker believes there are increasing numbers of companies using PETG to produce production tools, based on their survey results.
You might be a bit confused at this point, because PETG has long been a material used on Ultimaker equipment. Why announce another one?
There’s a big difference here: this is a specially designed PETG that is targeted at industrial clients, providing a versatile material for many applications. But more importantly, it is integrated into the new Ultimaker platform.
This means that 3D printer operators using the Ultimaker platform can use Ultimaker PETG without issue throughout the entire workflow. It will have a print profile. The print profile will appear in the Ultimaker Cura software. The physical spool will fit into and be recognized by the material handling unit. And so on.
That’s what a platform is all about: leveraging all the components to ensure a smooth experience while integrating something new.
In Ultimaker’s view, this is no longer a world where you can use “any material” on a 3D printer. It’s not about being able to achieve something by fiddling with the technology. Instead it’s about the reverse: the technology serves the operator to ensure everything works together automatically.
Ultimaker’s CTO, Miguel Calvo, explained:
“Adding Ultimaker PETG to our set of standard materials is a natural next step from the launch of our platform. It enhances our material portfolio as industrial use cases for 3D printing continue to rise. Its excellent all-round properties are a strong addition to our platform and are ideal for typical industrial environments and applications. Ultimaker PETG will further fuel creativity and innovation as users work hard to ensure the continuation of production and everyday life, despite the external challenges we have all faced.”
Calvo is basically saying that 3D printer operators can focus more on their application, and less on the technology, and that’s a often different experience than is typically found with 3D printers.
The platform is working.