Ultimation Industries will soon have additional new 3D printing capabilities that will reduce the turnaround time for developing, testing and implementing prototypes of plastic parts. Ultimation won a new Photocentric LC Magna 3D Printer in a pitch contest hosted by Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Southfield-based CoreTechnologie provided the printer and related CAD software package.
Going for the prize
To win the printer, manufacturers had to submit an application as to how the industrial 3D printer would solve a labor, capacity or process challenge and support their business overall. Selected applicants were invited to make an in-person pitch during Automation Alley’s Integr8 Conference on May 10, 2022.
Tommaso Helwig, Ultimation’s engineering manager, made the winning pitch and said it will give the company more creative freedom to design parts in-house and will allow the company to implement changes at a fraction of the time allowed by outsourcing. “Prototypes can now be completed in hours or days rather than weeks,” he said.
Good news for vertical farmers
The new 3D capabilities are especially good news for indoor vertical farmers, who rely on plastics to create food-safe environments for growing leafy greens, herbs, fruits and other produce. Indoor farms allow foods to be grown locally in areas where they may otherwise have been imported.
“Plastics are a very much part of a food safe environments and are an ever-growing part of our scope of work in indoor vertical farming,” said Tommaso. He added that within the last year, Ultimation has partnered with the largest indoor vertical farm to provide miles of a plastic drainage, flow rail, and conveyors to automate their farm.
Planting the seeds for a “green hub” in Detroit and South East Michigan
“Our goal is to connect Detroit’s rich manufacturing history and manufacturing network to this emerging market,” said Tommaso. “We are getting the chance to not only support innovative farmers who are challenging how we grow things every day, but also working to help solve one of the world’s largest problems: sustainability. With enough effort, Detroit can easily become one of the green hubs of this country.”
Ultimation believes that its evolving Agtech (Agricultural Technology) capabilities to provide full farm material handling and mechanical structure is a key enabler for future growth. The global vertical farming market was estimated to be $3.6 billion in 2021 and will increase to $17.6 billion by 2028.