Buffalo-based startup, PostProcess Technologies, offers unique technology to automate 3D Post-Printing and capture global markets
PostProcess Technologies was founded in 2014 by Buffalo-native Daniel J. Hutchinson. At that time, this Navy-Veteran engineer who spent several years at Northrop Grumman saw a tremendous opportunity in automating the third step of 3D printing. Indeed, a lot of companies had so far only focused on the first 2 steps of 3D printing, which are the design of the parts, and the printing itself.
Analysts expect the 3D printing market to triple by 2020 and to exceed $21B. Daniel identifies one of the big drivers of this acceleration: major corporations are going to move from utilizing 3D printing for rapid prototyping into using it for volume production.
The post-printing market, which now represents $250MM, is likely to boom as well and reach $625MM according to forecasts. It looks like the business perspective of PostProcess is very bright!
But how does it work exactly?
3D parts that are being printed need supports and often need the surface to be finished. These supports are attached to the parts during the build process and build lines are visible as a result of the layer-by-layer printing process. Currently, companies use manual labor in order to remove these supports and finish the surface, a very time-consuming and therefore expensive process. Automated 3D post-processing enables the removal of supports and surface finishing to deliver a “customer-ready” part.
Thanks to his engineering background and skills, Daniel designed a unique solution to automate support removal and surface finishing. He created unique software, and developed custom hardware along with specific detergents & media to consistently and cost-effectively post-process 3D parts. Different sizes of machines were also created to address their clients’ different sized parts, as well as varying volumes.
“The real benefits of automated post-processing are unparalleled consistency, increased throughput, and increased productivity,” explains PostProcess CEO Jeff Mize. Indeed, investing in an automated solution becomes profitable for their customers in a short amount of time. The time spent by an individual is significantly reduced by the machines, and quality is also enhanced. “Our machines never get tired!”
Post Process defines itself as “the only automated, intelligent, comprehensive solution for post-processing of 3D parts.” Jeff Mize left Silicon Valley where he had worked for two innovative companies – The Climate Corporation and NAVTEQ – and joined PostProcess as he saw that the technology created by Daniel was revolutionary and market-changing. As Jeff explains, the automated PostProcess solution is unique and the company currently has no competitor, even abroad.
Currently, the three main industries PostProcess is focusing on are Automotive, Dental and Aerospace.
“There’s a tremendous opportunity for us in Europe as well, particularly in Germany, where there is a lot of activity with metal printing and a strong need for our solutions,” reports Jeff.
PostProcess is currently patenting its whole technology and just entered the final stages of its seed round, which attracted both national investors. Some of the investors came from the Silicon Valley, but local investors such as Richmond Capital, also joined in.
“Our biggest challenge is hiring. We’re growing very quickly and we can’t hire fast enough,” says Jeff.
The company targets to reach $100MM in 2020.