Düsseldorf, 13th October 2022 – Düsseldorf-based technology startup iFactory3D has announced the successful completion of a financing round on the investment platform Companisto. More than 600 individual private investors and business angels pledged over one million euros for the company and its innovative product, the One Pro 3D belt printer. One of the aspects that convinced them was a special feature that differentiates the 3D belt printer from conventional printers: thanks to the built-in conveyor belt and smart camera technology, objects can be printed in series around the clock without supervision.
The One Pro automates additive manufacturing and, at a price of around €4,000, or c. £3,500 (as of October 2022), is aimed at SMEs and entrepreneurs. From the automotive industry to mechanical engineering and medical technology to toolmaking, companies across various industries have already opted for 3D belt printers from iFactory3D, which provide a flexible way to close supply bottlenecks for important components without the need for additional staffing. As with other AM machines, the costs are significantly lower than for injection moulding for the production of very high quantities, as there are no tooling and setup costs for printing.
Differentiation from other suppliers
iFactory3D focuses on marketing the One Pro to business customers, making it the only B2B supplier of 3D belt printers. Because the printer is made of high-quality components sourced almost exclusively from European manufacturers, customers benefit from a production machine that meets industrial standards. In contrast to low-cost Chinese competitors, iFactory3D focuses on durability, reliable camera monitoring, personal technical support and customised solutions thanks to its in-house R&D department. In addition, iFactory3D offers service contracts for maintenance and consulting.
Currently, iFactory3D is also working on a rental model for temporary projects that allows companies to use multiple 3D belt printers at the same time. With a subsequent purchase option, iFactory3D offers an advantage for ambitious startups with low liquidity to sustainably integrate the One Pro into their business model once their idea has successfully taken off.
Behind the idea of setting up a 3D printer company was Martin Huber, an industrial chemist, who needed several custom-made parts for a project. The dimensions of most parts far exceeded the capacity of conventional printers, and the machines that could have managed the production of these objects in turn far exceeded the inventor’s budget. Martin Huber concluded that there had to be a simpler and cheaper way. So the first prototype was created with a built-in conveyor belt instead of a rigid print bed. To develop and market the resulting 3D belt printer, Martin Huber and entrepreneur Artur Steffen founded iFactory3D in July 2020. With financial support and access to industry experts and exciting contacts, the entrepreneurs are now tackling the international marketing of their product.
“The great interest in our technology tells us that the world of production is changing and that we will be an active part of its redesign. With Companisto, we have chosen a strong partner. We’re pleased that you don’t have to go to the U.S. for visionary ideas and that more than enough forward-thinking entrepreneurs are ready for something new in Europe as well.”
More innovation with 3D belt technology
iFactory3D’s CEO sees the One Pro as more than just a reliable machine that provides agility to customers in a wide range of industries and quickly delivers big savings in manufacturing costs. Rather, the printer, which has taken a total of 4 years to develop, is the manifestation of potential. Artur Steffen explains that with the One Pro, there are no longer any limits to creativity and no more inhibitions to simply implement an idea.
As a serial founder, he knows what he’s talking about: the opportunities that 3D belt printing offers to startups mean a lot to him. For him, iFactory3D’s mission is to enable innovation. “When you know that this device gives you the freedom to implement virtually anything you want directly and independently, the next steps will seem much easier. So you’re not buying a 3D printer, you’re buying infinite possibilities.”
The investors and business angels have not just opted for iFactory3D’s business idea, but actually support countless ideas and people. In the future, more companies and individuals will surely be convinced by the printers, which can mass-produce almost any type of object – including extra-long objects – at low cost. The ROI that some iFactory3D customers were able to record after just a few weeks should do the rest. The automation of additive manufacturing is about to begin.