Media often shows potential uses for 3D printing in the home of the future, but many industries have already adopted the technology.
Computer Aided Design changed how we design things and 3D printing changed how we make them. The Finnish company Hetitec has combined the two for an innovative service.
“Often the media writes about it as if it might be useful one day, but 3D printing is now!”
Ville Moilanen is living in the future, at least according to these articles he is talking about. He is the CEO of the Valkeakoski-based Hetitec, a specialist in on-demand 3D printing. Popular media often shows potential uses for 3D printing in the home of the future, but many industries have already adopted the technology.
Hetitec primarily helps to manufacture complicated moulds and cores for metal foundries. The mould is 3D printed directly from Computer Aided Design (CAD) data, so the elaborate and expensive mould set-up process is avoided.
The process is faster and less expensive than traditional methods of manufacturing. It is also adaptable, because if there is a problem with the design of a part only the CAD data needs to be changed. If the designer wants to try several variations, it is simple to change the data and manufacture different versions. Since it is all stored digitally companies don’t even need to store physical models like they used to do.
“Our technology removes the need for traditional tooling and patterns when manufacturing moulds, thereby cutting the tooling costs and time to market considerably,” Moilanen continues. “When compared to other 3D printing materials, our technology offers an unbeatable price, making it possible to print bigger parts that never used to be considered economically reasonable.”
Hetitec has enjoyed good growth since it was founded in the spring of 2013. Moilanen also points out that the geographical location of Finland has helped the company.
“We have had a very good start to the year. I hope the trend continues and we keep on growing,” he says. “We are planning to become the leading service provider in our field in Scandinavia. Russia might be next. We are located in the EU, but our facilities are only 440 kilometres from St. Petersburg.”
Although Hetitec primarily serves specialised industries, the technology is such that it could be used for a variety of applications.
“We have end customers that are producing forestry machines, shoes, supercars, packaging for fish and even garden elves,” says Ville Moilanen, CEO of Hetitec.
He mentions that artists could 3D print large works of art, but probably the early adopters will be in various branches of industry.
“We have end customers that are producing forestry machines, shoes, supercars, packaging for fish and even garden elves. I’m sure that companies that find innovative ways to manufacture their products are staying more competitive than the ones sticking to their old tricks. We just have to promote our technology so that as many people as possible hear about it and think: ‘Could this be used to produce…?’” Text: David J. Cord
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