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3D printer manufacturer Trideo provides insights into the Latin American AM industry – Interview with Nicolas Berenfeld

Argentina-based 3D printer manufacturer Trideo specialises in the development of FDM printers for large-scale and industrial additive manufacturing, and provides 3D printing services for a variety of industry sectors. Founded in Buenos Aires in 2015 by Laurent Rodriguez, Simon Gabriac and Nicolas Berenfeld, the company has developed a range of industrial-grade 3D printers and expanded its presence in Latin America to Brazil and Mexico. In an interview with 3Druck.com, CEO and founder Nicolas Berenfeld shares his insights into the additive manufacturing industry. 

Trideo initially focused on the design and production of small FDM printers, with an emphasis on improving the user experience. However, the team quickly moved into the industrial sector, developing larger machines and offering B2B 3D printing services.

Launched in 2018, the Big T 3D printer boasts a massive build volume of 1000 x 1000 x 1000 mm, making it ideal for projects that require the production of large volume parts. This machine was followed a year later by the Dual T, a 300 x 400 x 500 mm IDEX printer with a 70 degree heated chamber designed to fully meet industrial needs. The so-called IDEX technology makes it possible to reduce the production time of a part by half, as two equal or symmetrical parts can be printed at the same time in the build chamber.

The team continued to push ahead with new developments, including the T600 HT, a 600 x 600 x 400 mm printer with a 200 degree heated chamber, and a new Big T pellet extrusion system to recycle scrap material and give it a second life.

At the same time, Trideo embarked on a geographical expansion to enter new markets and maintain its growth strategy. The first milestone was the opening of an office in São Paulo, Brazil in late 2021. This was followed by the establishment of a second office in Mexico City, Mexico, which will be operational in August 2024, serving customers in Mexico and the United States.

Interview with CEO Nicolas Berenfeld

In an interview with 3Druck.com, Trideo CEO and co-founder Nicolas Berenfeld shares his insights into the Latin American AM sector. He outlines the key innovations in 3D printing from his point of view and looks at what the future might hold for this technology.

In your opinion, what is the significance of additive manufacturing for the industry and other sectors in your region?

Image: Trideo

I strongly believe 3D printing is far more crucial for the industry in LATAM compared to other parts of the world. Various factors come into play: LATAM is far from China (main manufacturing centers), and logistics is more complex than in Europe or the US. Additionally, many countries here still have significant tariffs on imports, and sometimes it is impossible to get the spare parts you need. 3D printing can not only reduce costs and lead times but also extend the lifetime of machines that would otherwise be unusable.

Moreover, 3D printing empowers SMEs by enabling them to prototype or produce parts without large investments, allowing them to work with smaller budgets. This is particularly important in countries with less capital available to companies.

Additive manufacturing has developed continuously over the last few years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider to be particularly important?

As we like to work with engineering materials for functional industrial parts, I definitely have to highlight the development of new materials such as:

-High temperature resistant materials like Ultem or PPSU as they truly are super-polymers

-Metal Composite Filaments: even though they lack dimensional precision due to the sintering process, I think the process is really impactful.

-Recycled materials, as I am convinced 3D printing must play a role in addressing the plastic waste problem. While it may not be possible to 3D print all the available plastic waste, if we can at least 3D print all the scrap material from 3D printing centers, we could achieve a neutral plastic footprint industry, which would be a great start. In our case, due to the amount of plastic available and the limited applications (mainly decoration and furniture), we approach this problem with our large format pellet extrusion printer enabling us to enhance our offices with great products made from scrap. 

First Corona and now high inflation are major challenges for the whole industry. How do you think the multiple crises will affect the additive manufacturing industry?

It is difficult to fully apprehend those effects but I will say this: during the COVID-19 pandemic, having the whole team operating remotely was challenging, especially when physical parts needed to be delivered. My business partners and I found ourselves at the office seven days a week to supply facial masks to hospitals. It was tough, but perhaps necessary to maintain our sanity, given Argentina endured one of the longest quarantines, lasting about eight months. This pandemic highlight the vulnerabilities of traditional manufacturing and the global supply chain, presenting us with a significant opportunity, particularly in Mexico.

Inflation has long been a concern in Argentina, persisting for at least a decade so this was nothing new to us. However, the combination of inflation and COVID-19 significantly constrained company budgets for innovations, which are crucial for 3D printing businesses.

What impact do you think additive manufacturing will have on different industries and possibly society as a whole in the coming years?

I believe AM will have a massive impact on society in the next 10-20 years. There is a lot of different industries that will be revolutionize but just to cite a few:

Obviously supply chain and manufacturing is the elephant in the room as it will enable a decentralized production (even more with local recycled materials!). Aerospace and automotive industry as well as they will take advantage of 3D printing new lightweight and highly resistant components. 

Nevertheless I think the most visible part of those impacts will be seen in the healthcare and construction industries .

In healthcare through custom medical devices but also bioprinting opening  new frontiers in regenerative medicine, implants and drug testing. In construction, I believe AM will become common as it drastically reduce construction time, labor costs, material waste and while enabling the use of recycled material (remember the neutral plastic footprint industry objective?)

Now throw AI, industrial automation and robotics into the mix and you can start to grasp the transformative impacts AM will have on society.

Here you can find further information on Trideo, its printers and services.

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