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INSIGHTS / THE BIG PICTURE

Spain's 3D printing revolution to drive various sectors' growth

Spain · May 06, 2019 · By Emanuela Ferraro

From medical splints to meat-free burgers, multimillion-dollar 3D tech hubs are spawning new verticals across Spain

Crafting a multifaceted network of designers and service providers in the rapidly evolving 3D tech industry, Spain is leading the revolution across diverse business sectors like retail, medical equipment, automotive and aerospace.

With sustainability and on-demand services becoming key economic drivers worldwide, 3D tech can disrupt businesses across verticals by optimizing time-to-market product development. Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, processes reduce wastage because exact amounts of composite materials are applied layer by layer to build the desired items. At present, additive manufacturing is deployed in a variety of applications especially bioprinting, packaging, nano-manufacturing, design and architecture. 

In 2014, the European Union (EU) commissioned Spain's digital innovation management consultancy Carsa to launch FABulus, the European 3D printing acceleration program for SMEs. Public funding has also been invested in the European 3D tech and additive manufacturing sector, with the EU giving about €160 million to over 60 3D printing research projects between 2007 and 2013. Since then, the European Commission's innovation incentive program Horizon 2020 (2014–2020) has been backing such projects with grants of up to €1 million. 

“We're without a doubt observing one of the biggest changes in our discipline since the industrial revolution,” said Manuel Jiménez García, a research architect and co-founder of Nagami, a Spanish design studio that specializes in robotic additive manufacturing.

Catalonian, Basque regions lead 

In 2017, the Spanish government pledged to boost the use of 3D printing in healthcare. The Ministry of Industry also gave loans and grants worth €21.25 million to Hewlett-Packard Spain that has invested €50 million in its new global 3D printing center in Sant Cugat, near Barcelona.

Edited by Suzanne Soh

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