CREAT3D - A Decade of Additive
11 May 2023 | Sabina Gonzalez-George
CREAT3D CELEBRATES A DECADE IN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
2013 - 2023
May 2023, CREAT3D's 10th birthday - a decade in Additive Manufacturing.
CREAT3D's story begins in 2012, when our Founder and Managing Director Simon Chandler decided to turn his obsession with 3D Printers into a business. Whilst Additive was not a new invention (the technology was first commercialised in the 1980s), if you go back in time to the early 2010s, patents were expiring which meant the technology was becoming more accessible, at lower costs and more user-friendly.
Similar to the evolution of computers, 3D printers were reducing in size, cost and complexity, whilst materials, capabilities and performance were improving. "Just look at what you can produce - this technology is going to have a huge impact on being able to make better products, cheaper and faster" and from that CREAT3D was born in 2013.
Right from our inception, CREAT3D has been an Additive Manufacturing specialist supplying 3D printers (and all things related) to UK businesses, universities and technical colleges. Our team’s passion for Additive comes through at every touch point. At CREAT3D’s core is helping businesses adopt, embed and make Additive successful.
“Having started and grown CREAT3D over the course of 10 years, I feel incredibly proud and privileged to work with inspirational people within our customers, our suppliers and in particular my colleagues. I’m incredibly passionate about British manufacturing, and being able to support UK companies to grow and innovate through the use of Additive Manufacturing, is what motivates me every day. Additive Manufacturing has the power to change the world, one printer at a time!“ Simon Chandler, Managing Director CREAT3D.
In our 10 years of operation, CREAT3D has stood out in the industry through honest advice and outstanding customer service to its clients. “Many of our customers have been with us from the very beginning - it's wonderful to support them in their growth but also help to shape their journey of using Additive - we've seen amazing innovations, new products and millions of pounds in savings for our customers over the years, and there's nothing better than knowing that what you are doing helps to make such a difference to businesses, which in turns sprouts new skills, new ideas, more employment and fundamentally more enjoyment!” highlights Sabina Gonzalez-George (Marketing Director and co-Founder).
How the Additive landscape has changed over our past decade
Years 2012 - 2015
This was a crazy landscape - with patents expired, or expiring, there was a huge number of new manufacturers of 3D printers springing into the marketplace, at one point it topped over 200 brands on the market!
During these years, the key for CREAT3D was selecting reliable, professional 3D printer manufacturers to add to our portfolio, and our focus was on translating “marketing features” of 3D printers into real, true functional benefits to the end user.
In these early years, we saw the main uses of 3D printers to produce prototypes and models. Many of the early adopters of the technology were product design agencies, model makers, universities and innovative manufacturers.
Years 2015 – 2020
During this time, the 3D printer manufacturers that had become established in the professional desktop markets, such as MakerBot, Ultimaker and Formlabs continued to evolve their 3D printers, refining the technology to produce even higher quality 3D prints at improved print speeds and using a wider breadth of materials. These developments grounded the value of businesses using Additive Manufacturing to improve their processes.
The range of materials and capabilities of the technology also expanded, including the conception of composites 3D printing, with Markforged.
CREAT3D are proud to be the original Markforged specialists, being the first value-add partner and to bring Markforged additive solutions to the UK. For our clients, Markforged equipment provided the ability to 3D print very high strength, functional parts, so engineering departments could now produce tooling in-house in a matter of hours, instead of outsourcing or waiting for space in the machine shop.
In these years, the main uses of 3D printers expanded. Not only was the technology used for high quality prototypes and product development, but now was being used heavily in R&D, new product development (NPD) and form, fit and function testing. Manufacturers and engineering companies were also gaining “quick wins”, by 3D printing tooling and manufacturing aids.
Years 2020 - to now & the future
In 2020, CREAT3D moved into our new home – a standalone, double storey, 10,000sq ft building in Berkshire, just on the outskirts of Reading. We needed not only a huge showroom to fit our industrial 3D printers and host events, but also space for post-processing rooms for metal and SLS printing, workshops and repair centres, our training centre, offices and warehouse!
CREAT3D continue to provide professional industrial Additive solutions which have become the backbone of manufacturing and design businesses, and at the heart of education in engineering. With a decade of experience in Additive, our team love to share applications and success stories across industry so that new clients can benefit from fast and successful adoption.
Additive manufacturing fundamentally helps UK manufacturing, design and engineering processes perform better, function faster and save costs. Thus the adoption of 3D Printers is now becoming mainstream and delivering competitive advantage.
Today and moving forward, Additive Manufacturing is used for all aspects of prototyping, product development and research and development, but more benefits are being seen through using the technology to improve manufacturing processes (tooling, jigs, fixtures, aids, sacrificial components) and for end-use parts and low volume production.
Our list of clients ranges from SME to large multinational corporations in aerospace, automotive, manufacturing (general and contract), engineering, defence, sub-sea, energy, general engineering, food, FMCG, technology, TV & Film, industrial design, medical and educational.
An Additive Journey with CREAT3D
CREAT3D works in synergy with its clients to provide a one-stop shop of Additive Manufacturing, from provision of 3D printers, consumables and related equipment, to strategy development consultation, applications engineering, technical support, services, training, maintenance and business continuity programmes.
Today there is a wealth of benefits of using Additive Manufacturing, from reducing costs, freeing up skilled labour, improving skills, neutralising disabilities, saving time to production, improving speed of manufacturing, producing better functioning parts, tailored manufacturing, localised manufacturing, reducing reliance on supply chain, reducing stock holding and creating digital inventories, the benefits go on!
“Investing in additive manufacturing capabilities has been a game changing step for Lincad. The speed and flexibility 3D printing technology has added to the prototyping process has exceeded our most optimistic estimates. The ease of producing low volume parts that would otherwise never have been cost effective has noticeably improved the overall quality of the equipment we can produce.
The sales and support staff at CREAT3D have been helpful and professional at all times and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anybody looking at investing in additive manufacturing equipment." Mike Hendey, Senior Systems Engineer at Lincad.
CREAT3D, Additive Manufacturing Solutions Provider