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From 2D to 3D

Additive manufacturing at the heart of Industry 4.0

The world is changing from 2D to 3D, from analogue to digital, from mass production to customization. In the manufacturing industry, this is the 4th industrial revolution. Nine technologies are going to disrupt the manufacturing industry, both in terms of manufacturing technology and business processes. Additive manufacturing, one of these nine technologies, will have the greatest impact.

Exponential growth

Researchers expect the additive manufacturing market to grow exponentially to $36.61 billion by 2027. McKinsey & Co estimate the total economic impact of additive manufacturing by 2025 worldwide even at $100 to $250 billion. The main reasons for this rapid growth is that the complexity of producing products barely has any influence on production costs. Economics of scale loses its meaning, because the cost price becomes less dependent on the batch size. AM will also make customization easy, as additive manufacturing is digital. Additive manufacturing lends itself as digital manufacturing technology for digital value chains, with concepts such as production on demand, and distributed manufacturing.

The AM region with a broad AM ecosystem

In Brainport Eindhoven high tech OEM, manufacturers of additive manufacturing equipment and suppliers form a rich ecosystem


The region has an ecosystem of high-tech system suppliers and parts suppliers, well known for working together on small series in a multidisciplinary open supply chain. They operate within state-of-the-art production facilities (including AM) and are capable to lead a project. In the way they cooperate, the suppliers shorten time to market for the OEMs. 


Additive manufacturing is going to disrupt existing supply chains, due to trends like manufacturing on demand, customizing and distributed manufacturing. As a result the revenue models are shifting. Knowledge of additive manufacturing alone is not enough, because AM is part of process. The medium-sized and smaller supplier in Brainport Eindhoven will find the right partners and facilities for supporting their position in this process chain.

AM equipment manufacturers

For AM equipment manufacturers, it is important to react quickly to market and technology developments. Large suppliers in the region, such as NTS, KMWE, Frenken Europe and Sioux have many years of experience with projects for OEMs in semiconductor (ASML) and printing industry (Océ, Fujifilm, SPGprints, Fuji Seal). They can take the lead in projects or provide specific knowledge. AM equipment makers can benefit from both type of suppliers.


In Brainport Eindhoven technology and networks are clustered on campuses in order to create economic value and facilitate business development. Each of these campuses houses an ideal mix of companies, talents and knowledge institutes with a specific expertise. The campuses are located in close proximity and together they form a value chain that covers all technology readiness levels. For specific knowledge development, testing in a pilotarea, demonstrating use-cases, and launching new AM-technology the five campuses of Brainport Eindhoven are the place to be.

The AM ecosystem in Brainport Eindhoven

The power of Brainport Eindhoven

The MetalFAB1 additive manufacturing system of Additive Industries

Additive Industries’ succes shows what the ecosystem is capable of. In just a few years, the Dutch manufacturer of industrial AM production systems has grown from a start-up to a top player in the AM industry. Additive Industries achieved this through combining the existing know-how of motion systems and high-tech mechanical engineering available in the region with its own knowledge of AM. Eight companies from the Brainport Industries network and Additive Industries started to collaborate in AddLab, the first 3D printing pilot factory for the production of industrial metal parts. Together they gained AM knowledge for the manufacturing industry. By combining knowledge and expertise their learning curve has shortened. Additive Industries gained through this process valuable feedback on the requirements for an industrial AM production system.

The result is the MetalFAB1, a metal additive manufacturing system now used by international companies in the aerospace industry (Airbus subsidiary APWorks), motorsport (Alfa Romeo Racing Sauber Group) and machine builders (Kaak Group).

Machinefabriek De Valk: using the ecosystem for advanced manifold 

Local turbulence can cause sound waves; no matter how small, it can be disatrous in machines for the semiconductor industry. When developing a manifold for ASML (1200 mm high, 700 mm wide and 400 mm depth) with 35 cooling channels, Machinefabriek De Valk, one of the eight companies in Addlab, and Viro Engineering opted for additive manufacturing as their main production technique. By engineering and combining additive manufacturing with classic production techniques, they succeeded in building eight complete systems in twelve weeks. All possible through intensive collaboration with other partners in Brainport Eindhoven.

More information about printing and additive manufacturing in Brainport Eindhoven?

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Additive manufacturing

The opportunity is now

Additive manufacturing offers vast opportunities. Machine builders can shorten their supply chains and reduce the number of parts. Suppliers can distinguish themselves with AM knowledge and facilities. As a result customers will involve them in an earlier stage of product development, getting products in a shorter time to market. 

Opposed to these opportunities are threats. Due to additive manufacturing, value chains are going to change. Start-ups that innovate thanks to digital techniques are gaining market share, which will impact the market share of existing players.   

That is why it’s now the right moment to explore the possibilities of additive manufacturing. 

Additive manufacturing is no longer a promise in Brainport Eindhoven

No longer a promise, but a reality

For the prototype of their solar charged electric vehicle, Lightyear sourced more than 60 parts through the Dutch platform DiManEX to match to the supplier with the best AM-technology for each 3D printed part.

Lightyear One


Engineers at DAF Trucks are using FDM-technology so they have a (functional) prototype the day after an iteration is done. 3D printing speeds up the process cycle.

DAF Trucks

With the BMW Mini, build in The Netherlands, customers can customize some parts of their Mini, which are then 3D printed. The software platform that’s used for this, is developed by Twikit.

BMW Mini

Machinefabriek De Valk made together with several partners in Brainport Eindhoven a complex manifold for ASML. 3D metal printing was the only technology that could meet the requirements.

Machinefabriek De Valk

The Kaak Group used the MetalFAB1 3D metal printer from Additive Industries to print parts for their industrial bakery lines. This reduces assembly costs, fewer robots are needed and the uptime of production lines is increased.

Kaak Group

The Dutch research institute for aerospace and aeronautics has developed and 3D printed a 40% lighter bracket for one of the NH90 helicopter of the Royal Dutch Army.


GKN Fokker Aerostructures is investigating how to improve the buy-to-fly ratio of metal parts. This results in less resources for manufacturing structural parts for the airplanes.

GKN Fokker

FMI, a small Dutch contract manufacturer of metal devices and implants, 3D prints and post-processes hundreds of implants per day.

FMI Additive

3D Mouthguard developed an automated workflow to scan the teeth of hockey players, generate the correct STL-file from the scan data and 3D print a customized mouth protection.

3D Mouthguard & DSM

In the fieldlab Multi Material 3D Printing, Next Dent and Lake 3D made an existing 2D printhead (developed by Océ) suitable for 3D printing dental implants in countless colour variations.

Next Dent & Lake 3D

Luxexcel prints 3D ophthalmic lenses. By doing this, there is no need for polishing and grinding the lens, customized lenses can be produced more efficient, and as the only company in the world they can print customer prescription lenses.


Brainport Development: gateway to the additive manufacturing ecosystem

How we help

It is essential to be able to develop and open up to market- and application-oriented value chains. Brainport Development is the gateway to these value chains: 

– Unlocking the right network
– Develop state-of-the-art use cases
– Organize consortia to speed up application and next-generation AM equipment development
– Accelerated AM innovations to market  


Ruben Fokkema

Helping companies to set-up their business in Brainport Eindhoven

+31 6 10 53 80 38