“Don’t think twice about contacting companies and people all over the globe”
Text: Thomas Masuch; Photos: ZYYX - 27/05/2018
At formnext 2017, more than a few ears pricked up at the announcement that the Swedish start-up Magicfirm Europe was planning to sell industrial 3D printers and filaments all around the world in cooperation with its Chinese partner, Shenzhen Esun Industrial. Now, Magicfirm and its 12 employees are ready to take the next step in producing a 3D metal printer for less than €10,000 - along with sintering and binder-removal functions. Formnext magazine has spoken with Mats Moosberg, CEO and founder, who developed the new ZYYX printer, about the developments of his quite young company and his future plans.
Mats, how is the current status of your new metal printer? And by the way, have you already named it?
MOOSBERG: We are now designing a new prototype with a build size of 260x230x200mm, and a layer resolution of 35um. The print speed is about 3-5 times faster than an FDM process. We now have decided on a name for the process: LEAP “Layered Encased Additive Process”.
In respect to other techniques and applications, where do you see your printer? What would be your advantage among others, especially in comparison to binder jetting printings?
MOOSBERG: We see our metal technology as a prototyping tool first. I do foresee use for one-off production and tools, jigs and fixtures as well but not really for high volume production. In comparison to binder jetting our technology is much simpler, and the user only handles metal powder in a binder. The post processing steps such as debinding and sintering are however loosely similar to metal binder jetting technology. But we use a binder that gives less troubles in sintering, and this also reduces the requirement of the furnace. We will develop our own furnace together with a supplier, but for the most part we use known technology.
"It offers an overnight possibility to prototype in metal at the fraction of the cost for traditional CNC prototyping."
Which are your potential customers?
MOOSBERG: We see the automotive industry as a model customer, they are in a critical development phase with the electrification of their fleets, and there is a huge need for increased development pace. We will offer them a tool that is unheard of so far, a low price tool for rapid metal prototyping that can be deployed directly at the individual design teams. It offers an overnight possibility to prototype in metal at the fraction of the cost for traditional CNC prototyping.
Mats Moosberg (left) at formnext 2017 with his chinese Partner Shenzhen Esun Industrial. Photo: ZYYX
You have founded ZYYX in 2013 by your own. What was your motivation and how did you develop?
MOOSBERG: I started the company around the idea of creating a line of desktop 3D printers for office use, and initial focus in the design work in 2013 was to improve safety and reliability. I envisioned that these will be key features as the technology matures. This resulted in the original ZYYX printer launched in 2014, an FDM printer that had active carbon air filtering, a filament monitoring system and automatic calibration, features now very familiar in many new machines. In parallel to the ZYYX product development cycle we also try to look at next generation 3D printing technologies. we actually have two key next generation technologies in the company; the described metal technology, but also a patent pending full colour (thousands of colours) FDM style technology that is different from all available solutions.
Your company has twelve employees. How do you manage these ambitious developments? And we haven’t spoken about building up an international sales network and many other things….
MOOSBERG: Well, we are currently a quite small team and even though I myself as the inventor can see the metal printer in my head already I am humble at the R&D challenge of getting this system out by 2019. We basically need to strengthen our R&D team in a way that is just not possible by organic growth.
If you look back over the last five years, what was the key of success?
MOOSBERG: For me the most important step has been to embrace that we live in a global society where you should not think twice about contacting companies and people all over the globe. Today I work closely with people in Sweden, Germany, UK, China, US, India and others, and these contacts and partners have been and are still crucial for our success.
Keeping an open mind as a key to success
From your point of view, what should an AM-Start-up company do to obtain international success?
MOOSBERG: You need a lot of knowledge in social media management, and also an open mind about reaching out to people.
To wrap up, something personal: What did you do before founding your company?
MOOSBERG: I have a master of science degree from Chalmers university in Gothenburg, and I have been working with product development for about 20 years within different areas both as an engineer, project manager and as a company founder. Maybe the most important thing I bring from these years is the insight that regardless of if you work in a 1-billion-Euro project or a 1-million-Euro project the problems and obstacles are for the most part identical, and the solution is to try again and try harder…
Mats, thank you for talking with us.