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3dpbm Pulse Podcast Ep. 10: paperless production with AM

Why Midwest Prototyping chose AM Flow to scale its automated additive production capabilities

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Today’s episode brings together two companies that represent at the same time, the history and the future of additive manufacturing: the AM workflow automation experts at AM Flow and the rapidly growing US-based AM service provider Midwest Prototyping.

Midwest Prototyping started in 2001 with the purchase of a desk and one stereolithography machine. Both of these shared an office with founder Steve Grundahl, who is one of the guests in this episode of the 3dpbm Pulse Podcast. The other guest, in this first multi-guest episode, is 3D printing services expert and pioneer, and AM Flow’s COO, Carlos Zwikker

MIdest Prototyping is one of the first clients of AM Flow using AM Flow’s vision technology. This moment marks the first step to the brand new, next-generation VISION and SORT systems. With these production modules, Midwest Prototyping can now automatically recognize, sort and route their daily volume of SLS, MJF and SLA prints, in only seconds per part. With the placement of the AM-VISION and AM-SORT, fully MES integrated, the production workflow has become completely paperless. Joining us to tell us what AM Flow can do for AM companies with large production requirements is Carlos Zwikker.

Midwest Prototyping has a nearly unparalleled experience in AM. Steve Grundahl got early exposure to rapid prototyping technology while studying at the University of Milwaukee’s School of Engineering in the early 1990s. Although his exposure to this technology was during its development stage, he never lost his fascination with it. As industries began adopting it as a valid option for rapid prototyping and product development, Steve took the opportunity to start his journey as a business owner.

Fast forward to 2006 and the company had built a new 18,000-square-foot facility with anticipation for future growth. In 2008, Midwest Prototyping acquired longtime competitor Manitowoc Prototypes adding even more rapid prototyping capacity. More acquisitions followed, leading to the ability to offer 6 distinct 3D printing technologies on over 40 machines with more than 40 materials.

More recently, Midwest Prototyping became part of the Prototek Group further growing the overall AM capabilities and continuing its acquisition strategy with ProtoCAM. Suffice to say that now the company has massive production capabilities and that’s exactly where AM Flow comes in

Last year Midwest Prototyping took its next step towards a fully automated additive manufacturing production plant with end-to-end product tracking and tracing by installing the AM-VISION and AM-SORT, in the AM-Flow production line at their Blue Mounds production facility.

AM Flow’s Carlos Zwikker has 20 years of experience as an International Research-Based Consultant and joined Philips as a strategy & insight executive in the Philips Lifestyle Incubator, a corporate venturing unit of Philips.

Here, Carlos, entered the Additive Manufacturing market in 2006 as he co-managed several start-ups, including AM service provider Shapeways. In 2018 he joined the management of AM-Flow where he is responsible for global sales and marketing.

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3D Printing Media Network is the online trade media portal published by 3dpbm, a leading marketing and market research firm specializing in the AM industry. 3dpbm also publishes the 3D Printing Business Directory, the AM Focus eBook series and the 3dpbm Research AM Market Reports. 3D Printing Media Network was founded with the goal to provide the latest industry news, insights and opinions to a global audience of professionals and decision makers.
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