Berlin leads in additive manufacturing
Berlin is a world leader in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. These printers are used for the production of models and prototypes in many different businesses. The devices can produce parts or entire products quickly and in one piece with little material input – without weak points such as welding or adhesive seams. There are more start-up companies in Berlin tinkering with new 3D printing techniques, materials and machines than anywhere else in Germany. The international 3D printing network “Mobility goes Additive” (MGA), with over 100 member companies, is based in Berlin. The initiative supports start-ups and helps more established companies to implement 3D printing in their production processes, including serial production. “Germany is the motherland of 3D printing,” says Stefanie Brickwede, managing director of MGA.
One of MGA’s members, Berlin-based BigRep, is working on 3D-printed material innovation for aerospace. Together with French company Dassault Systèmes, BigRep recently developed the world’s first printed aircraft seat. “Our seat saves 50 percent in weight and thus creates enormous advantages for sustainable aircraft construction,” the company claims. The reason is that parts produced with 3D printing technology do not have to be solid: A honeycomb structure on the inside provides stability but is considerably lighter.