Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF), a pioneer in microscale 3D printing systems, has expanded global operations with new state-of-the-art facilities in Greater Boston and Shenzhen, China. This news comes after a monumental year for BMF – and for micro 3D printing applications – as the company significantly grew global revenue in 2021 while adding over 100 new customers to double its installed base.
Both locations were built to serve the BMF’s expanding customer base which, in most cases, have global operations that span across North America, Europe and Asia. BMF recently moved its North American headquarters to a new 7,000 square foot facility at the Mill & Main complex in Maynard, MA. This location houses the company’s corporate team, including sales, marketing, applications engineering and customer support, with multiple platform systems for training, testing and customer benchmarking. In Shenzhen, BMF moved to a 14,000 square-foot facility that includes more than 40 installed BMF systems.
“Micro 3D printing is beginning to catch fire around the world. For years, this portion of the market was under-served by existing additive manufacturing platforms as the resolution and accuracy needed for micro parts was not possible,” said John Kawola, CEO of BMF. “Our microArch platform finally brings 3D printing and miniaturization to these industries that were once left out completely – and our expanded presence helps us support these use cases no matter where our customers are located.”
BMF officially launched its micro 3D printing system in the U.S. and Europe in February 2020, a few weeks shy of the pandemic. Despite the challenging economic landscape during this time, the technology took off around the globe as demand for micro 3D printing solutions continued to rise. Now, more than 200 global customers use BMF printers, which are built upon patented Projection Micro Stereolithography (PµSL) technology that enables ultra-high-resolution parts (down to 2μm) to be 3D printed with unparalleled accuracy, precision and speed. Most BMF customers are in the fields of electronics, medical devices, optics and photonics, microfluidics and research.
Sonion NL, a global leader in hearing health technology and components, aims to improve people’s quality of life by developing the latest solutions for hearing instruments and audibles. Sally van der Most, the company’s Development Support Services Manager, said, “The quality and accuracy of BMF PµSL parts is very unique, and truly mimic expensive micro molded parts, but now we can have parts ready for test within 1-2 days rather than 1-2 months, as well as levitating the huge costs associated with tooling manufacture and reworking as the new products evolve. We can also explore designs previously out of reach due to manufacturing limitations. Our main focus is to lift our prototyping capabilities to the highest possible level, both in quality and speed. BMF will help us to accomplish that.”
Other examples of micro 3D printed applications include endoscope heads, microneedles, microfluidic chips, lens holders, chip packaging and electrical connectors. Many customers use BMF for prototyping and development, but increasingly, the platform is being qualified for end-use production applications. Many of these tiny parts were traditionally injection molded or machined; however, as parts get smaller and more complex, additive manufacturing becomes an even more attractive alternative.