The Generalitat de Catalonia – the Catalan governing body – will create a Global 3D Printing Hub with more than 10,000 square meters on the Diagonal Besòs campus in Barcelona to partner with the private sector in the research, innovation and technology transfer of 3D printing to industry, explained the project’s counselor and Catalan Minister of Business and Knowledge Jordi Baiget, during the public presentation of the initiative.
The Government will invest 28 million euros by 2020, starting with 5 million this year through the Acció, program and plans to complement the financing with the Feder European funds. The President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, has stated that Catalonia wants and can lead at a European level on applying this technology to industry 4.0.
The platform, which will be publicly owned and managed privately, is supported by companies, technology centers and research centers such as HP, Renishaw, Eurecat-Leitat, Fira de Barcelona and the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (Ibec), among others.
“We have the environment, the strategy, the actors and the financing to carry out this project,” said Baiget.
The Global 3D Printing Hub aspires to be a worldwide reference in 3D printing applied to the industry and thus it plans to host R&D experts and companies. It will act as a testing laboratory so that Catalan companies can access this technology while also work as a certification center for new materials. The structure will host an accelerator of companies to promote startups linked to this technology, and expose products and solutions to disseminate success stories also taking advantage of the IN(3D)USTRY Congress and Fair organized yearly by Fira de Barcelona.
Puigdemont described this day as historic because of the transformative power of the fourth industrial revolution – the digitization of the industry – and added that the hub will serve to consolidate Catalonia as a benchmark in 3D printing and to promote the uptake of foreign investment, described as “one more element” to promote this platform.
“What has been done so far here does not mean that it remains so in the future, to maintain it, you have to make the decision to remove it from here has costs, not only economic, but loss of talent and opportunities.” Councilor Baiget warned.
Manufacturing technologies based on 3D printing have applications for all the industrial sectors, which is the reason why the new public-private hub is not a bet on one specific sector, but on the entire Catalan manufacturing sector, where 3D printing will enable more personalized productions, proximity manufacturing practices (Km 0) and industrial relocation, as well as new structures and materials and new business models.
HP vice president and general manager of the multinational’s MultiJet Fusion 3D printing business – which has its global 3D printing center in Barcelona – Ramon Pastor, has said that “companies that do not get involved in this transformation will lose competitiveness in the medium and long term”.
Catalonia has a solid, diversified industrial base, and uses a large variety of materials in its manufacturing processes that, therefore, will become a real driver for the demand of 3D printing. This condition, together with the ICT sector, which in recent years has become increasingly relevant, especially thanks to Catalonia’s World Mobile Capital Congress status or the Smart City Expo held here, as well as the presence of 3D printing sector companies and groups, are all assets that favour the leadership position of Catalonia in this sector. Furthermore, Catalonia also has an ecosystem of first-class start-ups, highly qualified in research and development in new technologies, as well as past experience in initiatives such as the Cluster of Advanced Materials and experimental spaces in the field of digital manufacturing.