3D Printers

Sentrol Goes to Tokyo with Sand & Metal 3D Printing in Tow

While 3D printing was a bit slow getting off the blocks here in Asia, things have certainly improved in the past couple of years. Governments and businesses are becoming aware of the advantages that additive manufacturing offers, consumers are becoming more and more curious, and conferences and shows are becoming more common.

sentrol booth at 3D printing 2016 in tokyo with 3D printed parts
Sentrol’s booth at 3D Printing 2016

This past week there was another show in Tokyo, Japan. The “3D Printing 2016 Additive Manufacturing Technology Exhibition” was organized by the ICS Convention Design and the Nanotechnology Business Creation Initiative (NBCI). Turnout was reported to be very good and an estimated 50,000 visitors were hosted. I sadly, due to scheduling conflicts, was not among them, but, with a few quick emails and phone calls, I was able to ascertain some of the more interesting goings on and one in particular caught my attention.

Materials printed using Sentrol’s sand-casting 3D printer, SS600
Materials printed using Sentrol’s sand-casting 3D printer, SS600.

Why do I bother talking about this, a 3D printing show that I didn’t attend? Well, the answer has to do with regional competition and industrial advancement. One of the exhibitors of importance to my area of focus was Sentrol, the Korean CNC manufacturer, who recently entered the 3D printing market with its introduction of an industrial laser sintering machine designed by William Joo. Mr. Joo became well known in Asia back in 2012 when he unveiled the open source “Willybot” 3D printer, a time when 3D printing was all but unknown in Korea. My how times have changed!

sentrol 3d sm 150250 metal 3D printer
Sentrol’s metal 3D printer: SENTROL 3D SM 150/250

At this show Mr. Joo, now Sentrol’s CTO, presented his company’s new SS600, an industrial 3D printer that uses lasers to fuse sand into molds that can be used for metal casting, and their even newer SM250, an industrial grade metal printer aimed primarily at the medical devices industry. While I had the opportunity to see the SS600 up close and personal back in September of last year, when it was unveiled publicly for the first time, I am not familiar with the SM250…yet.

2 SS600, the industrial sand-casting 3D printer launched by Sentrol in September
SS600, the industrial sand-casting 3D printer launched by Sentrol in September.

Though both Germany and the United States have developed their own industrial sand-casting 3D printers, the SS600 is important because it is the first one developed in Asia. Japan is busy developing their own machine, and should have a working model later this year, but, for now, Korea enjoys preeminence in this area of technology. This may have been one of the reasons that Sentrol’s exhibit generated so much attention from regional businesses in the casting industry. Throughout the article are some photos taken at the exhibition that Sam Song at Sentrol was kind enough to provide me. My understanding is that these were part of a media pack that they sent out earlier this week, so I apologize it they have been seen in other articles.

As an economist, I will be very curious to find out how much of this international interest converts into actual sales for the company. Since I was not able to attend this conference, or see Sentrol’s new SM250, I am going to do my best in the next few weeks to see if Mr. Joo and I can clear our respective schedules and sit down to discuss his newest projects. Rest assured, knowing Mr. Joo’s penchant for candor and imagination, I am sure that it will be both educational and interesting!