Catalonia has a solid, diversified industrial base, and uses a large variety of materials in its manufacturing processes. The capital city of Barcelona is a hub for creativity and design, technology and industrial manufacturing which make it a perfect hub, driving demand for 3D printing.

Together with the ICT sector, which in recent years has become increasingly relevant thanks to Catalonia’s World Mobile Congress and the Smart City Expo held here, as well as the presence of 3D printing sector companies and groups, are all assets that favor the leadership position of Catalonia in this sector. Furthermore, Catalonia has an ecosystem of first-class start-ups, highly qualified in research and development in new technologies, as well as past experience in initiatives such as the Cluster of Advanced Materials and experimental spaces in the field of digital manufacturing.

The Iaac (The Catalan Insitute for Advanced Architecture) and the FabLab Barcelona (one of the first and most important FabLabs in the world) which originated within it, have been instrumental in bringing 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies to a wider demographic, exploring new applications in the construction segment and beyond it.

Generalitat de Catalonia created a Global 3D Printing Hub on the Diagonal Besòs campus in Barcelona to partner with the private sector in the research, innovation and technology transfer of additive manufacturing to industry. The Government will invest 28 million euros by 2020, starting with 5 million through the Acció, program and plans to complement the financing with the Feder European funds. The platform is supported by companies, technology centers and research centers such as HP, Renishaw, Eurecat-Leitat, Fira de Barcelona and the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (Ibec), among others.

More recently, the 3DFactory Incubator was established as the first European incubator of advanced technology in 3D printing, home to some of the most promising initiatives of these disruptive additive manufacturing technologies. Prepared to incubate more than 100 companies in five years, the 3DFactory Incubator hosts state-of-the-art machinery leveraging 6 different AM technologies, post-process and quality control equipment, design software and experienced staff available to the incubated companies.

Manufacturing technologies based on 3D printing have applications for all the industrial sectors, which is the reason why the new public-private hub is not a bet on one specific sector, but on the entire Catalan manufacturing sector, where 3D printing will enable more personalized productions, proximity manufacturing practices (Km 0) and industrial relocation, as well as new structures and materials and new business models.

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