From prosthetics to recycling, 3D printing makes its mark

A loan supported by the InnovFin-EU finance for innovators initiative under the EU's Horizon 2020 programme and extended by the European Investment Bank has helped Dutch 3D printing company Ultimaker strengthen its R&D and release new products. This will add to Ultimaker printers' already wide range of uses which includes making prosthetics and recycling plastic.

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  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
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  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 12 June 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentClean technology and recycling  |  Plastics
Industrial researchMaterials & products
Innovation
Research policyHorizon 2020
Science in societyEducation & popular sciences  |  Education & popular sciences
Special CollectionsFinancial Instruments - InnovFin
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Netherlands
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From prosthetics to recycling, 3D printing makes its mark

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© AndSus #194263451, 2018. Source: fotolia.com

When anti-personnel mines left from Cambodia’s wars caused loss of limbs, the prosthetics available were ineffective while in Nepal, three quarters of amputees couldn’t get prosthetics at all. That was until Ultimaker joined forces with Canadian charity Victoria Hand to create them with a 3D printer.

“We are now working to provide amputees with customised and functional prosthetics,” says the charity’s chief designer, Josh Coutts.

Swiss couple Fabian Wyss and Jennifer Gadient collect plastic from Spanish and Moroccan beaches and use it to make glasses, bags and jewellery. “It was extremely important for us to use a robust, easy-to-maintain and very reliable printer,” says Gadient. “Our Ultimaker has had to endure bumpy roads, sea salt and sand, but has never stopped working,” adds Wyss.

Ultimaker also gave a 3D printer to Vathorst College in the Netherlands to improve science and maths lessons. Pupils used it to learn how to build and assemble the components of a rocket.

“The 3D printer has a number of definite advantages,” says teacher Sara Seamari. “Pupils can visualise things much more easily, which is not always the case with 2D. They not only develop knowledge of 3D printing, but can also explore making things themselves. They can also build working prototypes and solve real-life problems.”

To further promote 3D printing and science in schools, Ultimaker held a Europe-wide competition in November 2016 in which young people were asked to create something using a printer. Of 250 entrants, 50 won a 3D printer, a training course, a year’s worth of supplies and membership of Ultimaker's pioneer programme, which it plans to expand to Africa and the Middle East.

Expansion is also happening elsewhere. Although Ultimaker's business is currently centred on office and personal 3D desktop printers, the EU financing will enable it to create a new professional range.

Project details

  • Project acronym: Ultimaker
  • Participants: Netherlands (Coordinator)
  • Total costs: € 15 000 000
  • EU contribution: € 15 000 000
  • Duration: from September 2016

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