Today, almost every organization understands the opportunities of 3D Printing and the advantages for their business. Likewise, the declining costs for hardware and consumables have enabled small and medium sized businesses to utilize all benefits of additive manufacturing. The quick development of new materials which resulted in 3D printed objects with high mechanical and thermal strength opens an extensive range of new applications from functional prototypes to small series of end products.
As an outcome of that, the level of knowledge of additive manufacturing is rising in the organizations so are the expectations for the procedure itself. Engineers want to have a full control of the 3D printing process as opposed to having an algorithm performing their job and ascertaining ideal software parameters. Also, they hope to have the full adaptability with regards to the decision of what material can be utilized for their applications.
This aligns perfectly with the “Open Platform” philosophy of German RepRap that makes the world’s first industrial quality, open platform 3D Printers capable of printing all materials on huge build platforms. Based in Feldkirchen near Munich, German RepRap was originally founded as a German RepRap Foundation (GRRF). Since then, the company has been developing and distributing 3D printers based on FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) technology, as well as filaments, software, and accessories. German RepRap is also the first company in Germany to offer the X1000, a large volume 3D printer for industrial requirements.
An Engineer’s First Choice
The product line increases steadily and consists of 3D printers for professional users in product development, automobile, aerospace, prototyping, mold and model-making, architecture, design and much more. German RepRap’s customer base comprises leading industry companies, designers, architects, artists, model makers, universities, and schools.
German RepRap is the first preference of engineer’s that offers full control over the 3D printing service and has the flexibility of using any material that the printer can technically process. The latest machine of the x-series is the German RepRap X500 with new features like auto bed leveling, a heated building chamber, filament feed control, brand new DD4 extruder technology and much more.
Besides the X-series, German RepRap has just announced a new, innovative 3D printing technology called Liquid Additive Manufacturing. Extremely complex geometries that can’t be manufactured with the conventional molding techniques can now be 3D printed for the very first time, as well as small or medium size batches, where the costs of tools and casts do not allow an economic process.
A Passionate Leader in 3D Printing
Florian Bautz, Managing Director, German RepRap has always been passionate about 3D printing. He took part in the Open Source RepRap project (self-replicating, rapid prototype), which led to an extensive spread of the FFF technology for the very first time. He started with an online shop of spare parts for RepRap printers as a lot of those components had to be imported to Germany back in 2010.
His plan took off as within the first 24 hours of the online presence; his online shop was sold out. He then realized a rising demand for the RepRap project in Europe, and the decision to design his own RepRap printer was a logical consequence, and German RepRap was thus founded.
After three years, he created the first large volume 3D printer, and X400 was born, just to print components for the existing smaller printers more efficiently. However, as industrial companies started to reach out to German RepRap for the X400, he realized the absence of the comparable system in the market and a tremendous opportunity in focus on B2B demands.
Again, his decision to concentrate on industrial 3D printers from 2014 was logical, market driven, and successful, and led the brand German RepRap to become one of the fastest growing 3D printing companies with a growth rate of 60 % in 2016 and a full range of industrial 3D printers, the X series.
Leading from the Front and Overcoming Struggles
Since its inception, German RepRap has experienced a huge gap between the expectations of its customers and the actual possibilities of 3D printing technology in general. The lack of knowledge among clients and the hype over 3D printing created by the media were the reason behind wrong expectations. Overcoming these false expectations to deliver the actual result was a challenge for the firm.
Another challenge German RepRap faced was to find the right people that have already gained knowledge of 3D printing. 3D printing is a time-consuming process which demands skilled individuals in different disciplines. Also, with the technology just starting to get implemented into university programs, it was not at all easy to find the right set of people.
The Future that Looks Promising
As the development of the technology and the consumables are moving so fast, German RepRap sees themselves more than just a manufacturer of 3D printers, but also as a consultant helping to find out if the ideas of the engineers can be realized with their technology and if so in what specific way.
There are fascinating times ahead for German RepRap, especially because of the massive speed of development in all 3D printing related fields, such as hardware, software, and consumables. Everyone speaks about industry 4.0 where 3D Printing already will play a huge role, in combination with the trend of customization which shows the limits of traditional manufacturing.
At present, German RepRap serves more than 24 countries already, and they strive to continue growing their presence in the new markets as well. German RepRap has a strong connection to the industry, and they plan to use that advantage to align their R&D activities as close as possible to the demands of the industry.