Every fourth industrial company is relying on additive processes and technologies, according to a Germany-wide Bitkom survey. Annual growth rates between 13 to 23 per cent have been predicted. Large companies in aviation and automotive are the main drivers of this development. Yet, mid-sized companies are also discovering 3D printing. However, this target group frequently has to overcome challenges such as identifying suitable applications, acquiring specialist knowledge and rethinking the design of components.
The Hamburg-based start-up, Myprintoo, founded in 2015, noticed this gap and has developed a business model. The company views itself as a system provider and pioneer in the field of 3D printing technology. In an interview with Hamburg News, Kevin Neugebauer, founder and CEO of Myprintoo, discusses innovative trends in 3D printing, exciting projects and plans for the future.
Hamburg News: How did you hit on 3D printing?
Kevin Neugebauer: I worked in innovation management before we launched Myprintoo GmbH in 2015 with Daniela Naumann, co-founder and architect, as a local service provider and contact for 3D printing services. Our first clients included local architecture firms, bookshops in Hamburg, the Mercedes Me Store and regional SMEs. In 2016, we launched our online shop, the 3D print department store, and have been offering 3D printing technology and accessories ever since. Meanwhile, exclusive sales agreements for 3D printers in several countries have been added, so that Myprintoo continues to become a systems provider.
Hamburg News: Can you outline your business model?
Kevin Neugebauer: We are not a classic online retailer, but offer our customers extensive added value. To this end, we advise and support them along the entire process chain. We check how our potential customers’ applications can be implemented with the appropriate 3D printing solution. We produce sample parts for interested parties, discuss product changes, if required, and supply suitable technology solutions. In addition to sales and installation, we also offer maintenance and supply spare parts. We have up to seven internal or external employees at Myprintoo presently.
Hamburg News: In which market segments are your customers?
Kevin Neugebauer: Whether aerospace, automotive, train manufacturers, healthcare, universities or institutes, we are thematically positioned and work, depending on the product, in the Benelux countries and in the German-speaking countries and with customers in Hamburg. We have already done joint projects with Jungheinrich or Deutsches-Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY). But we have also carried out projects with customers like the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA), HafenCity University (HCU) and the German Weather Service.
Hamburg News: Can you tell us about a particularly exciting 3D printing project?
Kevin Neugebauer: Some time ago, we worked very closely with HCU, a university dedicated to architecture, urban planning, visualization and urban design. I was particularly impressed by the manager of the workshop who tries to bring 3D printing closer to the students with lots of energy and enthusiasm. The HCU now has a large lab dedicated to additive manufacturing. Even contractors from the healthcare sector are exciting. Nowadays, tissue structures or surgical models can be printed out to plan surgery better after using a haptic model first.
Hamburg News: Where is the trend in 3D printing technology going?
Kevin Neugebauer: Every 3D printing process has the potential to complement conventional solutions very well. We see this potential mainly in 3D metal printing or 3D printing with composite materials such as carbon fibre. We also see a strong trend towards networking conventional and new technologies in automation such as 3D printing robots to produce products with improved properties or installing automated manufacturing equipment that promises swifter component availability. The new approaches will also bring major changes to operations, as many approval and assessment processes are derived from conventional processes – from work safety to special component design for 3D printing.
Hamburg News: What are your plans for the future?
Kevin Neugebauer: We have been working on the basis for our future since last summer. We have taken young, promising companies such as Xact Metal from the U.S. and Anisoprint from Russia into our programme and are assisting them with their market entry and brand development in Europe. This gives us a unique selling point and our partners benefit from our network. In addition to our core business, we want to drive forward our activities in market research and expand possible partnerships. Another topic will be developing an entire product and service process chain from the right technological solution to training, to the workspace with all the safety guidelines. To cope with this, we plan to expand our team significantly over the next two years.
Interview by Sarah Bischoff.