In February of this year, Ultimaker, a global desktop 3D Printing leader, announced that Essentium, eSun and Polymaker have joined the “Ultimaker Materials Alliance Program” (Materials Alliance Program), which will further bring a variety of FFF desktops to more industries 3D printing materials and application selection. Ultimake was established in the Netherlands, with offices in New York, Boston and Singapore, and factories in Europe and the United States.
The global team has more than 400 employees and more than 50 distributors all over the world. It is hard to imagine that a company of this size was founded in 2011. In just a few years, the product categories include 3D printers, materials and software, and application cases are spread across multiple industries, such as construction, aerospace, and automobile manufacturing. “3D Printing World” had the honor to interview Ultimaker CEO Jos Burger to understand how they rose to become a leader in the desktop 3D printing field in a short period of time. The three can form an army, do not forget their original intentions, and are loyal to their mission. Ultimaker was founded by the three founders of Martijn Elserman, Erik de Bruijn and Siert Wijnia, and originated from ProtoSpace Utrecht.
One of the founders, Siert Wijnia, wanted to build a RepRap Darwin 3D printer, but encountered various obstacles in the process. Subsequently, the other two founders joined the research project, and the three gradually formed their own design inspiration, hoping to print the parts they need, no longer limited to the RepRap Darwin 3D printer.
The first prototype “Ultimaker protobox” was born. Then Ultimaker Original was established and released the Do It Yourself kit, hobbyists and technicians can assemble it and use it, and users can also share their experience with the community. After Ultimaker was formally established in 2011, it has gathered a group of talented technical talents. Their mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to local digital manufacturing.
The original intention of their establishment is very simple, that is, to target the desktop 3D printing market. They hope that the desktop 3D printer can become a device that can be seen everywhere, whether it is amateur or professional users, whether in the home or office environment, people can print what they need at any time on demand. Adhering to this initial aspiration and mission, Ultimaker successfully obtained multiple financings from 2016 to 2018, gradually went international, and quickly grew into a new star in the desktop 3D printing field.
Looking at the world, every market is unique. In 2015, Ultimaker officially landed in the North American market, and then their footsteps went to Europe and Asia. Now there are factories in Europe and the United States, and more than 50 distributors worldwide. Talking about the reason for such rapid expansion, Jos Burger said that Ultimaker has been listening to the “voices” from all sides. Before deciding on the next new product, they will fully understand the future trend of the market and the needs of users. Just as before the advent of portable notebooks and smart phones, it is hard to imagine how convenient and fast it is to work and communicate with people today. Before the advent of 3D printing, people have always relied on subtractive manufacturing. The emergence of additive manufacturing has brought more design freedom to the manufacturing industry, and people can use less time and cost to create things that were previously unimaginable. It is this advanced thinking that Ultimaker has launched a variety of desktop 3D printers, materials and software in a short period of time.
Because the needs of users were taken into account during research and development, these products quickly moved to the international market. In the process of continuous advancement, Ultimaker has chosen to set up offices in the United States and Singapore. When talking about why he chose this Southeast Asian country, Jos Burger said that the Southeast Asian market, like China, is a market with unlimited potential. With the transformation and upgrading of China’s manufacturing industry, from labor-intensive to technology-intensive, many large manufacturing companies have moved their factories to Southeast Asia where labor is cheaper, which has promoted the prosperity of Southeast Asia’s manufacturing industry. The Chinese market and the Southeast Asian market have their own characteristics. Ultimaker will encounter different opportunities and difficulties when developing in different markets, but they have never stopped moving forward in the global territory. Each market is unique to them, and the opportunities hidden in them are precious. Promoting the industry to enter the application field, companies are duty-bound. In 2018, 3D printing application cases have emerged one after another, and the number has doubled from the previous year. In order to further promote 3D printing into the application field, Ultimaker launched the “Ultimaker Materials Alliance Program” (Materials Alliance Program). Now more than 60 companies have joined the alliance, including global chemical giants such as BASF and DuPont. Ultimaker is even more practical in this matter. Its 3D printers, materials and software are used by famous companies in all walks of life, including Volkswagen, Ford, Bosch, Airbus and L’Oréal. Ultimaker believes that these application cases are the strongest evidence to prove the value of 3D printing in traditional manufacturing. And corporate decision makers are also gradually changing their thinking. They find that 3D printing technology can bring more flexibility to production processes and products, and efficiency has also improved. Therefore, they increasingly hope that 3D printing can help them accelerate digitalization. Transformation. Different from the initial development of 3D printing technology, people are now more familiar with this technology and easier to accept the changes brought about by this technology. But Ultimaker has never dared to take it lightly in the education market. They always believe that as an important part of this industry, the role played by enterprises is also indispensable.
Although this technology has transitioned from knowledge popularization to application, their official website still provides users with the most basic industry knowledge and case sharing, and users can also share and exchange experiences in the community. For leading 3D printing companies like Ultimaker, 2019 will be a crucial year. As a major player in the field of desktop 3D printing solutions, Ultimaker is paying more and more attention to ISO standards, quality assurance, material certification, workflow integration and IT security. This factor is not only the key to advancing the development of the entire 3D printing industry, but more importantly, to eliminate the ultimate obstacle to the widespread application of 3D printing. In the new year, they will focus on achieving this goal, which is critical to their journey to accelerate the world’s transition to local digital manufacturing. About Jos BurgerJos Burger is currently the CEO of Ultimaker. In more than 20 years of professional career, he has accumulated rich experience in building software and telecommunications companies and their European branches. He has helped Ultimaker become a leader in the desktop 3D printing market with his wealth of knowledge, contacts and experience. His firm belief in FFF 3D printing technology drives him to continuously push Ultimaker into new markets.
About Ultimaker Ultimaker was founded in 2011 and has been committed to creating open and easy-to-use solutions for 3D printers, software and materials, and providing support for the daily innovation activities of professional designers and engineers. Today, Ultimaker has grown into a leader in desktop 3D printing, with offices in the Netherlands, New York, Boston and Singapore, and factories in Europe and the United States. The global team has more than 400 employees and is committed to working together to accelerate the world’s transformation to local digital manufacturing.