2021 at Zortrax was busy, full of interesting projects, cooperation with the new units and novel directions of development. The key events of the past year include the strategic partnership with Skriware and the delivery of our 3D printers to the education sector or the establishment of a new company, Zortrax Dental, providing innovative solutions for the dental industry. This year, we also entered the stock exchange market and enhanced our collaboration with the European Space Agency, which resulted in the initiation of WISA Woodsat Mission – the first space mission in which Zortrax is involved.
In 2021, new Zortrax products, such as Z-PEI and Z-PEEK, as well as a line of durable resins premiered. We also enriched our offer with two high-class engineering filaments from BASF. Last year abounded in many extraordinary projects using 3D printing, including: an audio system, underwater recording equipment used in Hollywood productions, a motorcycle helmet for a cat, awesome cosplay props, a wind turbine, elements of sports equipment as well as prostheses for animals. Here is a reminder of the most important events in the life of Zortrax in 2021!
Business events and development directions
1. Cooperation with Skriware: Zortrax 3D printers part of SkriLab educational labs
Thanks to the strategic cooperation with Skriware, initiated in 2021, Zortrax M200 Plus 3D printers have become a part of the comprehensive educational solution – SkriLab. SkriLabs provide complete equipment for laboratories that will have to be a part of all elementary schools in Poland since September 1, 2022, and their purchase can be financed by the governmental program.
By the end of 2021, about 15,000 schools across Poland received funding to purchase modern educational tools, including 3D printers and robots, which will benefit 3 million Polish students. Zortrax M200 Plus 3D printer, or 3D Skrinter, will be used to teach as many as 9 classroom subjects – Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, Technology, Early childhood education, Science and Information Technology (IT). So far, more than 2 thousand headmasters of Polish schools have decided to use SkriLab. The solution has also been delivered to schools in Ireland, Belgium, Malaysia, India, Latvia and Slovakia.
2. New company – Zortrax Dental
On 18 February 2021, the articles of incorporation of Zortrax Dental S.A. were signed. The company was established in response to the growing demand for modern technologies in the dental sector. The areas of Zortrax Dental activity include development of an offer of equipment, materials and services for the broadly understood dental industry, customer service in this sector or research and development in the field of software and equipment dedicated to dentistry.
The aim of Zortrax Dental S.A. is to provide dental surgeries and prosthetic laboratories with a complete ecosystem that will meet the expectations of dentists, technicians and prosthodontists, improving both their work and patients’ comfort.
3. Collaboration with ESA – WISA Woodsat mission
The year 2021 is a landmark time in terms of our cooperation with the European Space Agency. The parts made on the Zortrax Endureal industrial 3D printer will fly into space in the WISA Woodsat mission. Zortrax engineers were the first to use dual extrusion mode to print from two blends of PEEK material simultaneously (Z-PEEK and PEEK blend supplied by ESA). This made it possible to print complex models with embedded power and data paths.
The WISA Woodsat mission will fly a composite 3D printed special panel with an integrated electrical circuit, which will be tested on board the satellite in low Earth orbit.
4. International trade fairs: Formnext 2021
On 16-19 November 2021, our company was once again a part of Formnext – one of the largest and most recognizable international 3D printing fairs in Frankfurt. Our representatives from Sales, Support, R&D and Marketing departments participated in the event. During the intensive four days, they made more than 30 thousand steps, presenting our offer of 3D printers, printing materials and peripherals, answering questions about the equipment and advising on choosing the best solutions for particular industries.
New product launches
1. Z-PEI 1010 and Z-PEEK: Zortrax industrial filaments
In the second quarter of 2021, we introduced two high-strength filaments: Z-PEI 1010 and Z-PEEK. Z-PEI 1010 is a stronger, more resistant to high temperatures version of Z-PEI 9085, which is perfect for all applications where high stiffness of the printed parts is crucial. Z-PEI 1010, thanks to its resistance to many various chemical agents, such as halogenated hydrocarbons, alcohols or water solutions, can be used in the chemical industry, mining, automotive industry and in a large-scale production.
Z-PEEK is one of the most durable polymers in the world. It is characterized primarily by resistance to radiation and abrasion and extraordinary thermal strength. These properties make Z-PEEK an excellent material for use in the space sector (it passed the tests in vacuum-thermal chambers used for qualifying materials for space flights), mining industry and advanced mechanical engineering.
2. Zortrax Resin Tough: introducing the most resilient resins
Last year, in addition to the industrial filaments, a new resin dedicated to Zortrax Inkspire – Resin Tough – also premiered. It has low shrinkage and allows for the printing of models with a smooth surface, making it easy to combine multiple printed elements into a single object. Due to its durability and impact resistance, it can be used to produce any consumer items and prototypes that require increased strength. The new resin is available in a clear variant and three colors: black, gray and white, each with distinctive properties.
3. BASF Filaments in our offer
Our 2021 product portfolio has been expanded with the materials from one of the largest global manufacturers in the chemical industry, BASF. The two industrial filaments introduced for the Zortrax M300 Dual are BASF Ultrafuse® PAHT CF15 and BASF Ultrafuse® PP GF30.
BASF Ultrafuse PAHT CF15 consists of a polyamide base with 15% carbon microfibers, combining the durability of nylon with the stiffness of carbon fiber while maintaining ease of processing. The filament also exhibits high chemical resistance. These characteristics make it an excellent choice for parts under stress and exposed to chemicals in many industries such as engineering, robotics, automotive and aerospace.
BASF Ultrafuse® PP GF30 is a polypropylene-based composite filament reinforced with 30% glass fiber. It is characterized by very high stiffness, resistance to heat, UV light and chemicals. It is perfect for creating construction parts, tools and assembly elements in many branches. It is particularly popular in the automotive industry – you can just open the hood of any car to find it there.
Innovative applications of Zortrax 3D printers: user stories
Apart from new development directions or product launches, 2021 is also the time when our users once again proved how versatile 3D printing technology is. Using our solutions, they have created a multitude of amazing projects in a wide variety of industries, from photovoltaics and renewable energy to veterinary and cosplay. Below you can find some of them in a nutshell.
– HQ Glass is an intelligent heating glass able to generate indoor heat from photovoltaic energy sources. ML System S.A., a highly specialised technology company, which is a leader in the Polish photovoltaics market, used a Zortrax M300 Plus 3D printer in the creative process of HQ Glass.
– Dark Cell: 8 Zortrax 3D printers were used to print props and decorations for Dark Cell, the pilot episode of the French science fiction series starring Juliette Tresanini. The 3D printers enabled the producers to meet tight shooting deadlines and fit into a limited budget.
– Amplitude Audio: a French company used Zortrax M300 and Zortrax M300 Plus 3D printers to build modern audio systems. The company developed, amongst others, an innovative lamp that also serves as a speaker.
– Iron Cat is a project by an Instagram influencer Remy Vicarini (mon_copain_ray), which went viral and was featured on such websites as the Dodo. Using a Zortrax M200 Plus 3D printer, Remy designed and printed helmets (including an Iron Man one) for his inseparable sports companion, Cathode cat.
– Gates Underwater – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of underwater recording equipment also uses Zortrax printers, both in prototyping and production. Products manufactured using 3D printing have so far been used in blockbusters such as “Game of Thrones,” “Deadpool 2” and “Outlander”.
– Prosthetics for Pets – Maciej Szczepański is a veterinary student at Wrocław University of Life Sciences who uses 3D printing to create prosthetics for animals. Maciej uses a Zortrax Inventure 3D printer to support his work in developing prostheses for Sonia and Leto, dogs who lost their limbs in traffic accidents.
– Pip Boy is a project by Kamui Cosplay, who use a Zortrax M200 3D printer in their costume and prop making work. The team 3D printed a custom version of a prop from the game Fallout 4 – the Pip-Boy device.
– GUST, or Generative Urban Small Turbine, is a student project developing a wind turbine and promoting renewable energy sources. The Zortrax 3D printer has been extremely helpful in rapid prototyping and flexible manufacturing of the turbine parts, as well as aerodynamics research.
– 3D Printed Pistol Grip – a French company Athletics 3D, using a Zortrax M300 Dual 3D printer, produced a unique sports weapon grip for Celine Goberville. Céline Goberville is a French multiple world champion and Olympic silver medalist in shooting (air pistol, 10m), who used a weapon with a grip that perfectly fits her hand at the European Championships and Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
– Amber Museum – On July 24, 2021, the Museum of Gdansk reopened with a special exhibition dedicated to amber. Designer Jakub Pastuszak was responsible for creating four installations that included elements 3D printed and processed with Zortrax equipment. Two of these installations were created to help visually impaired people experience art (shapes and textures).
– Bethesda armor pieces and Evelynn claws – popular cosplay influencers Laura Jansen and Ralf Zimmermann, known as Lightning Cosplay, use Zortrax Inkspire and Zortrax M200 3D printers in their studio to create costumes for game developers like Bethesda and CD Projekt. This year they created on our equipment, among others, the K/DA claws of Evelynn from League of Legends and the Nord Helmet, known from Skyrim.
As it may be noticed on the basis of the examples above, 3D printing contributes to improving various businesses as well as the lives of individuals. We’re glad we can be the part of a positive change out there!
We’re looking forward to even more exciting projects in 2022!
For even more interesting projects, go to our Zortrax blog.