“If it’s color 3D printed anywhere in the world, there’s a very high likelihood it came out of our factory.” Braden Ellis, WhiteClouds CRO
WhiteClouds, the world’s largest 3DaaS provider and full color 3D printing facility, has recently launched two new services to enable color 3D printing for the masses. 3DyourMAP and 3DyourSCAN provide richly detailed, full color 3D printed models for professional industries, including agriculture and medical care, respectively. We caught up with WhiteClouds’ CRO Braden Ellis to learn more about their approach to expanding full color 3D printing into market sectors worldwide.
Ellis was brought on as Chief Revenue Officer in 2015 when WhiteClouds opened a 60,000 square foot 3D printing facility in Utah, making it the largest full color 3D printing service provider in the world. “We truly believe that the fourth industrial revolution will be that everyone’s product will be customized, personalized and created on demand.”
3D Printing at Scale: From Drone Maps to CT Scans
“The way the WhiteClouds is built and the way we’ll go forward is to enable organizations to have access to 3D printing at scale,” explained Ellis. “We invest in new technologies other companies don’t have, so our customers will have access to the cutting edge technology as it comes onto the market, without having to go out and make that acquisition themselves.”
Considering that AM is now past its hype phase and entering a true period of rapid and controlled growth, WhiteClouds’ strategy is a smart way to hook new markets on the power of 3D printing, and even more importantly, to be able to deliver at scale.
Case in point? The two new services WhiteClouds launched this month. 3DyourMAP provides full-scale color 3D printed maps produced from drone data. The service is available from DroneDeploy’s App Market, the drone industry’s first app store.
Though you may be wondering why the drone industry needs its own app store, there is ample demand. The emerging global market for businesses using drones is expected to reach $127 billion by 2020, and potential for commercial drones will grow exponentially.
“Businesses are just beginning to see the benefits of integrating drone-captured imagery into planning and implementing new solutions,” said Nicholas Pilkington, DroneDeploy’s CTO and co-founder in a statement. Using 3DyourMAP, customers can send drone imagery of topography and terrain from DroneDeploy to WhiteClouds’ servers, where they can be made into customized, full color 3D printable maps.
Industries such as agriculture, engineering, construction, and mining have been the first adopters of the technology, but Ellis believes others will soon follow.
WhiteClouds’ second new service, 3DyourSCAN, involves a patent-pending ‘Hinge & Slice’ feature, and a partnership with TeraRecon, a leading software provider in advanced visualization of medical imaging.
3DyourSCAN provides life-size, color 3D printed anatomical models of patients’ CT or MRI scans. The highly detailed models can improve physician-patient collaboration, and even allow doctors to better visualize complex, patient-specific clinical treatments.
HP “Kings of Color” push 3D
“If it’s color 3d printed anywhere in the world, there’s a very high likelihood it came out of our factory,” said Ellis during our interview. He’s not exaggerating – in just three years of operation, the company’s fleet includes more than 30 full color professional 3D printers, including CJP, MJP, and SLA, and a range of production 3D printers for direct metal 3D printing and laser sintering.
In addition to 3D printing services, WhiteClouds offers a premier software platform for 3D experiences. Their current industry partners range from health care to real estate, entertainment, retail and more.
“Obviously our focus is on color and we do always look at emerging technologies,” said Ellis, pointing out that they had potentially 3D printed the first architectural model on the J750, Stratasys’ new multi-material full-color PolyJet 3D printer.
Seeing as WhiteClouds is a member of HP 3D Printing’s advisory board, it’s the MultiJet Fusion’s upcoming multicolor capacity that has Ellis even more excited. “We think HP has something very special and we look forward to when it comes out,” he said.
At formnext 2016, HP showcased its first production-ready commercial 3D printing system, the HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200. Its highly anticipated multicolor edition, however, will likely not be available until Q1 or Q2 2018. Still, Ellis seemed confident in HP’s full color capabilities:
“They’re the kings of color. If anyone can do color, they’re going to do it right,” he said. “HP has a proven track record and a service model where people’s expectations are for quality products that have high uptime. […] They’re not going to come in with half-baked products, I think they’re going to push the rest of the industry to have reliable printers that produce incredible results, and it’ll be great for the entire 3D printing market.”
The expectations are certainly high, but as we’ve said, the professional AM market has been through enough hype and its own period of disillusionment. Moving forward, the only way for HP and other new entrants to pass muster will be to deliver on their promises.