“Printing success yourself – with the new world of additive manufacturing” has been the strong ambition of Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing at Formnext 2023. At the international hub for industrial 3D printing, the start-up based in Waiblingen, Germany launched its innovative pellet printing hardware and software solution into the market.
Time to rethink old processes
While modern 3D printing technology relies on expensive filaments, powders and resins and offers limited possibilities, the German start-up breakthrough printer uses a wide variety of injection molding pellet materials for greater cost efficiency, enhanced circularity, and virtually infinite production potential. By doing so, the team enables economically scalable 3D printing. Around the world, start-ups at grow platform work toward the big goal to deliver and establish trailblazing businesses for Bosch. Launching the first product into the market therefore is a major milestone in the journey – result of long days, fearless collaboration, customer research, and developing prototype after prototype. Achieving this important step isn’t easy.
The truth is, it’s just the beginning – because for the start-up “Manufacturing is far from finished.”
A patented game-changer that’s practical, scalable and affordable
Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing applies a special subscription-based business model to make 3D printing both accessible and scalable. Instead of buying a printer that functions will most likely become obsolete in a few years, business customers can simply rent a state-of-the-art device and receive continuous hardware and software updates. Customers experience greater financial flexibility along with the assurance of the latest technology.
The new 3D printer stores injection molding pellets within a hardware-integrated drying and storage unit. The patented melting unit and respective extruder are capable of processing pellets up to a temperature of 420° Celsius. Remarkable about the technology and development is that customers receive great added value in an efficient size. With a total print volume of 420 mm in all axis directions, the comparatively small machine delivers industrial quality with ISO-certified safety standards, works with open-source slicer software, and allows over-the-air updates.
From its unlimited potential and economic benefits to its strong sustainability focus, the technology and subscription model hold exciting and pioneering potential. Therefore, the team is increasingly investing in research and development to enable these attributes in the future. Printed material can be shredded and reprinted multiple times. In addition, the start-up has already made crucial progress in processing recycled materials such as fishing nets and car airbags.
Hendrik Jahnle, CTO of Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing says, “We make it possible for our products to be printed, used, shredded, and ultimately reused. We are also working on expanding our material list with injection molding pellets needed for high-regulated industries and make them usable and reusable.”
Pellets also allow for the use of additives in the materials, such as glass fibre, which significantly increases the stability, stiffness, and application of the product to be created. The solution opens brilliant potential that didn't previously exist in 3D printing, allowing to get into larger business scaling areas.
In total, Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing works towards a new world of additive plastics manufacturing with a comprehensive package covering four fundamental areas.
Hardware: A high-performance 3D pellet printer to unlock industrial quality in comparatively small dimensions.
Software: Innovative printing software with real-time status and control insights as well as features to update over the air.
Material Database: A large database to support new materials suitable for diverse customer needs.
Service: Material flat rate, digital and on-site updates, maintenance and support for software and hardware.
Disrupting manufacturing and overcoming new challenges
With the go-to-market, Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing is navigating the additive manufacturing landscape like never before. It relies on a proven team, working together in an autonomous, self-reliant, and entrepreneurial way. The team gets support from grow platform and Bosch, when necessary, but never waits for direction. As a start-up, it pushes its business forward based on its own vision.
Hendrik explains: “We want to change manufacturing as a whole and revolutionize the way we produce physical objects.” It’s a grand vision – one that includes high degrees of circularity, resource conservation and a leading-edge digital approach. This ensures the technology is accessible – and impactful – for countless businesses around the world. According to Hendrik, the team has the right frame of mind and focus to achieve this vision. “We have to go step by step, adapting to new situations and then marching on,” he says.
Answering the needs of the customer
One critical step is building and nurturing customer relationships. From the start, Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing has worked closely with its customers, and now this relationship is evolving to the next stage.
Holger Hoffmann, Managing Director, VP Finance & Controlling at grow platform is closely linked to the team. He says, “The team is exceptional when it comes to involving customers in development processes and scrum reviews, which gives product management remarkable insights.” The close collaboration has made the product launch a reality with strong optimism for the future.
Holger continues, “The team has been very close to the customer and has a good understanding of the market, they are now starting a brand-new phase.” Fulfilling orders, implementing the technology at various sites, supplying support, and ensuring scalability are just a few of the new challenges that the team is facing. Indeed, launching the product cannot be viewed as a finish line. It is just another starting line. Hendrik expands on this: “We have entered the market with a machine that is finished for the customer, but not finished for us. It fulfills requirements, but now we want feedback. Not just from one or two customers, but from many.”
From generating awareness and closing sales to receiving critical feedback, the grow platform funded start-up is focused on success – and tangible results. Hendrik sums it up nicely: “Enthusiasm is great, but at the end of the day we are also a start-up that is measured by growth.”
Moving forward with grow platform
Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing has been focused on German-speaking regions with its product launch, but the start-up already has plans to expand. New challenges will continue to arise, such as re-validating hardware for different markets, but the team has access to outperforming resources and expertise of grow platform and Bosch. Holger explains, “The fact that they can access Bosch resources helps tremendously, for example, in ensuring fully compliant hardware and software no matter the requirements.”
The intelligent balance between autonomy and support is particularly impactful for Hendrik and his team. He says, “On one hand, you as intrapreneur can allocate all your resources in developing your technology and business. On the other hand, you can access grow platform’s network, knowledge, and deep expertise in an open and transparent way.” No matter the situation, the start-up has the possibility to connect with the right resources and partners, such as its relationship with internal business divisions and Bosch plants. Correspondingly, the innovative pellet printer hardware is manufactured at the Bosch Power Tools plant in Murrhardt, Germany which was made happen via close and successful alignment between the the start-up and plant managers.
A journey without an end
Now that its product has been launched, Bosch Industrial Additive Manufacturing is full speed ahead. The start-up is in a position to transform not only 3D pellet printing, but rather manufacturing as a whole, thanks to cutting-edge technology, in-house software, a patented printing process, and strong drive to improve the way resources are being used nowadays.