Winners of the 2023 Formnext start-up challenge announced

Leading tradeshow for additive manufacturing Formnext, has announced the winners of the 2023 Formnext Start-Up Challenge.

Created to highlight innovative ideas and advancements within the sector, this year’s competition showcases international projects in various 3D printing domains. These projects include a range from medical applications to material recycling of titanium, analysis software, and new 3D Printing technologies targeting the automotive, electronics, dental, and engineering industries, among others.

“The winners’ wide-ranging solutions demonstrate the AM industry’s huge potential for innovation and the versatility of the current and future applications of AM. They also show that this exciting technology can enable a wide range of innovative products and give us a powerful, practical tool for tackling current challenges such as climate change,” says Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext at trade fair organizer Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH.

Formnext 2023 Start-up challenge trophy. Photo via Formnext.
Formnext 2023 Start-up challenge trophy. Photo via Messago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/Marc Jacquemin.

Reflecting on Formnext start-up challenge

The Formnext Start-up Challenge provides emerging companies with a valuable opportunity. It allows them to expand their network, engage in meaningful discussions with experts in the AM industry, and explore potential partnerships or investments. These companies will have the chance to participate in a stage pitch event on the Industry Stage at Formnext, which will be broadcast live on Formnext.TV. This event enables them to showcase their innovations to the prominent figures in the world of AM.

Formnext’s competition is designed for 3D printing firms that have been in operation for less than five years. It seeks to identify promising new business concepts. The judging panel, composed of distinguished individuals from industry, science, media, and investment, plays a crucial role in evaluating the participants and their ideas.

On a similar note, 2022 Formnext Start-up Challenge winners included the likes of Polish material developer Alpha Powders, Dutch microprinting specialist Photosynthetic, post-processing company Rivelin Robotics, Italian start-up SphereCube, and biomedical start-up Lattice Medical.

The Formnext Start-up Challenge 2022 winners. Photo via Messago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/Marc Jacquemin.
The Formnext Start-up Challenge 2022 winners. Photo via Messago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/Marc Jacquemin.

Introducing 2023 start-up challenge winners

First on the list with no particular order is Berlin-based startup Endless Industries seeks to disrupt the 3D printing sector with its novel approach to continuous carbon fiber printing, commonly used in automotive and mechanical engineering. Rather than developing its own 3D printer, the company concentrates on its proprietary material, software, and a patented nozzle capable of simultaneous carbon fiber and plastic processing. This enhances the efficiency of producing larger components. Since Endless Industries doesn’t manufacture 3D printers, it aims to establish partnerships with established manufacturers. Co-Founder Stephan Körber says this will allow it to, “deliver the best solution for the customer.”

Established in China in 2020 and currently located in the U.S., Helio Additive utilizes its slicing analysis software to improve plastic and composite 3D printing. The Dragon software, a thermal simulation tool, dissects 3D models into voxels and tracks their heat-related behavior. Specifically, it addresses the issue of different plastics, such as PC and PA, expanding at distinct rates when exposed to heat, affecting the 3D printing results. Dragon employs precise calculations to prevent errors in printing, facilitating faster, more reliable, and scalable 3D printing.

Spanish start-up Odapt has introduced a 3D printed solution to enhance usability and reduce waste. Globally, 15 million people rely on stoma bags due to the inability to empty their bowels independently, says the company. Consequently, it has created what it claims to be the “first 3D printed silicone baseplate,” preventing leaks and offering adaptability to various stoma shapes and available pouches. “Stool or urine leakage frequently occurs because the current pouches are not adapted to the different stoma shapes,” says the company.

Polish start-up Progresja New Materials specializes in recycling titanium across Europe. While the EU hosts many additive titanium powder processors, the raw material typically originates from China or Russia, says the company. Progresja New Materials aims to rapidly improve the low end-of-life titanium recycling rate in the EU. Scrap titanium from across the EU will undergo cleaning, thermochemical treatment, mechanical processing, and atomization, yielding powder suitable for 3D printing. The company is on the brink of large-scale production, planning a network of titanium recycling centers near aerospace industry hubs in the EU.

US start-up Vitro3D has introduced high-speed volumetric additive manufacturing, processing various materials like viscous resins and enabling the blend of material properties within a single part. Its cartridge-based technology eliminates support structures. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the company’s initial focus lies on the dental and electronics sectors. It facilitates the swift, direct printing of aligners and enabling electronics manufacturers to produce complex printed circuit board (PCBs) without requiring new tooling.

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Featured image shows Formnext 2023 Start-up challenge trophy. Photo via Messago Messe Frankfurt GmbH/Marc Jacquemin.