A while ago I started a series of Brazilian Projects posts. My goal? Show the world that we have an awesome market for 3DPrinting down here. Now I will start the second part of that project that is the interview with Brazilian companies that produce filament, our indispensable material on the art of 3DPrinting. 3DLab is my first contact.
This first interview is with Sérgio Portela, one of the partners of 3DLab. Let’s start?
Q: How did 3DLab begin?
The idea of creating 3D Lab started out of curiosity about technology. On a visit to technology fairs in Germany in 2013, Brian and Fernando, who are partners in the company and Mechanical Engineers, came up with the great idea of using a 3D printer to make great jobs possible. At first, the idea was to buy a printer and use it. However, upon returning to Brazil, they had the bad, or perhaps the great surprise, of the difficulty in finding quality national filaments compared to what was seen abroad.
From this, the idea arose of making the filaments themselves and creating a condition that these materials were accessible to Brazilians, with the aim of allowing great advances in research and development, without the need to import.
Q: What is your perspective of growth?
Our goal is to be the largest company in the delivery of a solution for 3D printing technology in Brazil! From 2016 to 2017 we have succeeded in doubling it as our sales, through much effort, dedication, focus on service as our customers’ needs and solid partnerships. In fact, we treat our customers as true partners. We do not just offer the filaments, but a complete solution, with all the help you need to make the most of the resources.
Q: What are the types of filaments? And what are the sources of the materials used in your production?
Today, we have in stock six different types of filaments. They are: PLA, Premium ABS, Flexible, PETG, HIPS and we are the only company in Brazil that manufactures wood filaments. We have an extensive range of colors, with 18 options for PLA and 16 for Premium ABS. We are constantly developing materials. Currently, we are working on the improvements of ABS and PLA that we have already produced, as well as studies of Ceramic, Copper and other materials that will be a surprise!
We use the best raw materials in the world for 3D printing. Some of the raw materials are imported and others are domestic.
Q: How much does your filament adapt to finalization (eg, acetone bath, sanding, primer, etc.)
We work so our customers get the most out of quality without the need for post-print work. But of course, for some purposes, finishing with acetone, sandpaper or other modes can generate a high added value to the product. Due to the characteristics of the materials, the ABS Premium is great for finishing with acetone, while the PLA is ideal for primer use.
Q: What types of filaments do you have that may interact with food?
Among the filaments we already have in production, PETG is considered FoodSafe. Of course, it should be noted that the surface of the printing process generates pores in the part that ends up accumulating waste, which should be considered at the time of application with food.
Q: Would you have any project planning to assist in the recycling of used filaments?
We have developed several partnerships with research companies to improve products with environmental concern. We always point out that PLA, is a biodegradable material, must be considered before Premium ABS, which has its origin in petroleum. We are currently researching to evaluate the possibility of recycling waste and filaments that have lost their original characteristics.
Q: What is the formation of your structure to manufacture your materials?
For the manufacture of filaments, we have a shed of 1000m² in an industrial pole of Minas Gerais, in addition to specific machines for this production and a team highly prepared to meet all needs, from production, product conference, packaging, stock, technical, marketing and commercial support, as well as professionals focused on customer success.
Q: How much of the Brazilian market do you serve?
Today we are able to meet the demand of the entire Brazilian market. To give you an idea, our manufacturing capacity is 300 kilos of filaments per day, and soon we will double that capacity with a new and sophisticated set of machinery.
Q: What are the challenges of production and the market in Brazil?
The biggest challenges we find in the Brazilian market are the supply of materials, equipment, supplies and even services. One point that is of great concern to us is the transportation service in Brazil. The Post Office presents constant delays and does not have the necessary care with the loads. Carriers also have problems, such as delays and high costs.
In addition, at the moment we are looking for options of machines for the production in the market, and what is in Brazil has an inferior quality to the outside, with a greater price. Part of this is related to the high tax rate, which also limits us in the final price of the products to the public.
Well, this is the first time that I start to dive into filament world, and for what I can see of Sérgio’s work, I can agree that they are doing a great work. On 3DLab website they have a gallery of models printed with their materials and you can see the quality of them. You have models printed with dual extrusion that worth a look to validate the quality of their material. Also, the 3DPrinterChat team will receive some samples of their materials to test out and post a review soon. It is on opportunities like this that I discover more what we have down here. So, thanks Sérgio for this opportunity! =D
If you want to get more info about 3DLab feel free to contact them on their site or through Sérgio’s email at: [email protected]
That’s all folks!
Check out my previous post about Brazilian Projects here.
Let me know on the comments below what you think about 3DLab! =D