Additive manufacturing company 3D Metalforge (ASX: 3MF) has leased an 1,858sqm factory in Texas with plans to transform it into a flagship production facility to service the growing United States market.
It will become 3D’s first production house in the US and will act as the company’s regional headquarters, manned by a team including marketing, senior client accounts, operations and design managers.
The company will equip the facility with a range of large-capacity industrial 3D metal printers, software and materials to offer services such as in-house part design, production and training to a growing North American customer base.
Proprietary novel processes and technology will enable the rapid and cost-effective manufacture of high-demand industrial parts with less environmental impact than conventional manufacturing.
The facility will be fitted out and ready to receive equipment by mid-year.
It is expected to be fully operational by September.
3D managing director Matthew Waterhouse said Texas was the natural choice for the company’s first “on the ground footprint” in the US and provides important exposure to the defence, space and medical device sectors.
“Houston is the global centre for oil and gas and the most important corporate location for us to target decision makers and high-value engineering groups who service that sector,” he said.
“Having the ability to produce metal parts near to their end point of use improves the robustness and flexibility of our supply chains and allows penetration into [other] sectors which have a strong presence in Texas.”
Additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) is a transformative approach to industrial production which enables the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems.
The technology uses computer-aided design (CAD) and Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) software to create advanced digital files which direct equipment to deposit material, layer upon layer, in precise geometric shapes.
As the name implies, the process adds material to create an object, unlike conventional manufacturing which employs traditional or subtractive methods to remove excess material through milling, machining, carving or shaping.
Additive manufacturing is helping industries to reduce their development and manufacturing costs, increase production, speed, innovation and time-to-market, produce new structures and shapes, and decrease waste.
The global additive manufacturing market is estimated to be valued at $61.49 billion by 2025, with North America expected to see 36% of that revenue.
It is believed use of the technology could reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the oil and gas industry alone by 2 million tonnes by 2025.