We visited the new Sinterit facility in Cracow, Poland
3dpbm was the first media to visit the large new facility and see the new Lisa X assembly lines
It has been nearly 2 and half years since we last visited the Sinterit facility in Krakow and everything has changed. Not just for the dramatic effects of COVID and the war just beyond the border with Ukraine, but also and especially for how the Polish company has been able to navigate these events and come out on top on the other side, with two brand new printers, the Lisa X and NILS, ready to open up new SLS markets.
From the business side of things, the past two years have also seen the launch of the first very dangerous competitor in the affordable SLS market: the Fuse 1 from affordable SLA market leader Formlabs. However, the well-financed US giant has had a harder time than expected in developing and launching its SLS system, a technology that presents many more challenges than photopolymerization as well as more opportunities. Sinterit decided it was going to put up a very serious fight.
In just over two years Sinterit moved to this larger new facility, developed two new and significantly more advanced SLS 3D printers (Lisa X and NILS), and put together a team ready to expand globally, including in the key US market. We were the first media to visit the new facility and what follows is a preview of our upcoming full reportage.
The move to the new Sinterit facility, located just outside Krakow, was finalized at the beginning of the COVID epidemic. It wasn’t an easy period, especially as demand for machines began to decrease. But the company decided to use this time as an opportunity to grow, focus on R&D of the new machines, study the most effective assembly line and train all its (now over 100) employees. The results of those efforts are tangible and Sinterit is now ready to open a new phase of growth.
The size of the assembly facility is now the same as that of companies that have been on the market for longer and just as well organized. During our visit we were able to see every detail, from the receiving and shipping areas to every station, Kanban boards, daily meeting spaces, machine calibration, testing, R&D and laser calibration rooms. If you think that Sinterit started from just an idea not even a decade ago, this is truly impressive and it has been great to follow their every progress.
After seeing how the machines are made we got to play with a brand new Lisa X. First we took a look at Sinterit’s internally developed slicing software and its over 50 parameters (which you can choose to just ignore and print with a single button using Sinterit’s own materials). Printing into a powder bed means you don’t have to think about supports, which means you don’t have to worry about part orientation to minimize supports and ensure adhesion. There still are some aspects you will have to consider in terms of part orientation, mainly so that the laser can do its job more easily. We’ll tell you all about those.
And here it is. “Our” Lisa X and its highly automated PHS (Powder Handling Station). The whole Lisa X printing experience was very easy (even smoother than our test with the Lisa Pro in 2019) and a lot of fun. We will tell you about every step of the printing process and workflow, for the Lisa X. We also got the take a much closer look at NILS, Sinterit’s first industrial system, which promises a very high level of automation (for process and material handling) at an unprecedented price point.
After running a print on the Lisa X, during the continuation of our visit to the new Sinterit facility, we also got to speak with the company’s CEO and CMO about their ambitious strategy to continue to grow in Europe and expand the US branch. Sinterit is convinced that no one can compete, today, with the quality and price combination of its value proposition. Based on our knowledge of the state of the SLS market, we are inclined to agree. We’ll give you all the information you’ll need to make your own assessment.