Since its inception in February 2019, the 3DFactory Incubator has welcomed over 46 companies into its Barcelona center, more than double its initial target of 20 companies per year. The incubator has also increased its floor space by 40 percent to 1,000 squared meters.
The 3DFactory Incubator is located at the Consorci de la Zona Franco de Barcelona (CZFB) headquarters and led in partnership with the Leitat Technology Center, a technical institute promoting research, development, and technological innovation. The incubator aims to facilitate the business take-off of initiatives through the provision of 3D printing services and consultancy, among other things.
“In almost two years all expectations have been exceeded and proof of it is the expansion of the facilities, which are destined not only to house more equipment and expand the laboratory, but mainly with the aim of accommodating more companies interested in having their own office,” said Joan Parra, CEO and Executive Vice President of Leitat.
The 3DFactory Incubator
Deemed the first European high-tech 3D printing incubator, the center is aiming to host 100 companies during its first five years. The incubator is equipped with nine 3D printers that can facilitate up to seven different technologies, in addition to post-processing and quality control equipment, and design software.
The incubation zone hosts offices, co-working areas, and design spaces alongside production and post-processing areas, with its goal being to promote the growth of additive manufacturing projects from start-ups, SMEs, and micro companies. Services along the entire value chain are offered, from business consultancy, prototyping, and manufacturing of 3D printed parts, to testing, certification and market launch support.
The 3DFactory Incubator’s 3D printers facilitate plastic and resin production, and this is set to be broadened in the “near future”. The incubated companies hail from a wide variety of sectors, including health, robotics, mobility, consulting, and consumer goods, amongst others.
18 months after the official opening of the incubator, its facility size is almost doubling from 600 square meters to 1,000 as a result of the interest aroused by the center’s first 42 projects. Part of the facility expansion involves the addition of the HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 Processing Station, which will be used for processing parts printed with flexible TPU. In addition, the incubator will have graphite equipment, surface cleaning and treatment, and dyeing equipment.
HP previously chose Barcelona as the location of its 150,000 square feet 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Center of Excellence. Meanwhile, the likes of German 3D printing software developer 3YOURMIND have partially located their core teams to the 3DFactory Incubator in a bid to strengthen their offering within Spain’s growing 3D printing market.
Special delegate of the State in the CZBF, Pere Navarro, emphasized “the importance of the 3DFactory Incubator as an initiative to position the city of Barcelona as a pole of attraction for companies around the world that want to bet on the industry 4.0.”
He continued: “It is a great satisfaction for the entity to see the great reception that the project has had and we are convinced that this expansion will help us reach the objective of 100 companies incubated in 2024.”
The bigger picture with DFactory 4.0
The 3DFactory Incubator makes up part of a much larger project by the CZFB and Leitat, named the DFactory 4.0. Aiming to position Barcelona as the “innovation hub in 4.0 Economy” of Southern Europe, the DFactory 4.0 will receive €100 million investment and provide more than 100,000 square meters of facility space.
The first phase of the project will be inaugurated in 2021 with 17,000 square meters of office space, laboratories, and incubation zones. The center hopes to attract talent and investment from companies around the globe seeking to grow and undertake Industry 4.0-related activities.
Be sure to subscribe to the Another Dimension podcast on your chosen podcast player to make sure you never miss an episode.
Looking for a career in additive manufacturing? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.
Featured image shows the 3DFactory Incubator has exceeded all initial expectations and currently has 42 incubated companies. Image via 3DFactory Incubator.