3D Printers

[INTERVIEW] Photosynthetic Formnext Start-up Challenge 2022 Winner

The 2022 Formnext Start-up Challenge Winners are selected by jury looking for enterprises that are “new, creative, viable, and above all, sustainable business ideas from the world of Additive Manufacturing”.

This year the winners are Photosynthetic (Netherlands), Lattice Medical (France), Rivelin Robotics (UK), SphereCube (Italy), and Alpha Powders (Poland). A further award, the AM Ventures Impact Award, went to Lattice Medical.

You can meet the winners in Frankfurt this week at Formnext, Hall 11.0, D72.

Also, read more in our series on the 2022 Formnext Start-Up Challenge winners here.

3D Printing Industry: Please introduce yourself and your company? 

Dr. Alexander Kostenko, CEO & Founder, Photosynthetic: I am a scientist who had to learn how to make a business. I came to the Netherlands in 2009 to get a Ph.D. in Applied Physics, and after that made a career between academic and industrial R&D. 

In 2018, I had an idea to reverse the process behind the computational algorithms that were made to calculate 3D images of objects in X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) and to use them to make physical 3D objects instead. Because the 3D objects would be constructed using photopolymerization reactions controlled by light, a company called Photosynthetic was created

3D Printing Industry: What is the problem your business solves? 

Dr. Alexander Kostenko: On one hand, many new cutting-edge technologies depend on our ability to make structures smaller and smaller. On the other hand, making complex three-dimensional forms at microscale is very difficult and expensive – the structures would be too small for the conventional 3D printer technology and too large (and expensive) for the nano-fabrication technology. 

Examples of the new micro-scale products are microfluidics used for point-of-care testing, drug testing, and drug delivery, micro-optics used in sensors and in data-transfer technology, and many others. 

The Photosynthetic value proposition. Image via Photosynthetic.
The Photosynthetic value proposition. Image via Photosynthetic.

3D Printing Industry: How does your company fit into the additive manufacturing ecosystem? 

Dr. Alexander Kostenko: We are developing a technology that can be seen as a very fast 3D printer that works at the microscale that has the potential to become the fastest and, at the same time, the most reliable 3D printing technology of the future. It enables a form of Additive Manufacturing (AM). We are expecting that it will be used in conjunction with various other manufacturing processes, both additive and subtractive, to create complex products. 

3D Printing Industry:  What are your expectations and hopes from exhibiting at Formnext 2022? 

Dr. Alexander Kostenko: We would like to find parties that could help us with the industrialization of our future product, as well as finding customer leads and investors.

3D Printing Industry: What advice would you offer to someone considering launching a start-up in the 3D printing industry? 

Dr. Alexander Kostenko:  Develop 3D printers that can reach the micro-scale! There is a huge demand for such instruments, while the existing micro-3D printing technology is very expensive and slow. The future of micro 3D printing is not limited by the resolution itself but by the capital cost and throughput. 

3D Printing Industry: How would you describe the roadmap for your enterprise over the coming years? 

Dr. Alexander Kostenko:  We would like to raise funds to turn our lab-based prototype into a serially-produced MVP in 2023. Initially, we are starting to produce the first printed structures in-house as a service for private and public R&D groups, developing our customer leads and increasing the visibility of the technology. In 2024, we want to start selling serially produced instruments to academic and industrial customers. After that, we will focus on increasing the throughput of the printing process, which will enable the serial production of microstructures.

3D Printing Industry: Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Dr. Alexander Kostenko: We are working on a platform technology that may be used in a wide variety of high-tech applications, and our launching customers will use the technology for prototyping mostly. In the mean-time, we want to focus on a narrow band of applications in the biomedical field, optimizing the printer for high-throughput serial production of drug-delivery systems.

Learn more about Photosynthetic here.

Meet the winners in Frankfurt this week at Formnext. Hall 11.0, D72.

2022 Formnext Start-up Challenge Jury 

Kristian Arntz, CEO, Fraunhofer Center for Networked Adaptive Production, ICNAP

Stefanie Brickwede, Head of 3D Printing Deutshse Bahn, Managing Director, Mobility goes Additive

Arno Held, Managing Partner, AM Ventures

Peter Mayr, Professor of Materials Engineering of Additive Manufacturing, Technical University of Munich

Alexander Oster, Director Additive Manufacturing, Autodesk

Michael Petch, Editor-in-chief, 3D Printing Industry

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