DFactory Barcelona is an international technology ecosystem created by the Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona in 2019, to support the digital transformation of the European industry. The space was established to develop, work and promote Industry 4.0, including advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. In an interview with 3Druck.com, special delegate Pere Navarro shares his insight into the additive manufacturing industry.
DFactory Barcelona has the aim to generate collaborative synergies, a space for open innovation and an ecosystem based on talent and investment in technology, by bringing together business corporations, startups, innovation centres and laboratories. The ‘cathedral of the new economy’ provides an ecosystem to support the digital transformation of the European industry; brings together technological companies that offer digital solutions with companies in the process of transformation that are looking for innovative solutions, and gathers cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, sensorics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, 3D printing or advanced manufacturing, among others.
In figures, DFactory Barcelona is a 17.000 m2 building with 4 floors of open, diaphanous and digital spaces, that represented a 30-million-euro investment done by the public institution. The facilities are committed to the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals. They have already 30 companies settled in and 500 people are currently working there.
Interview with special delegate Pere Navarro
In an interview with 3Druck.com, special delegate of the state in the consortium of Zona Franca de Barcelona, gives an insight into the industry and details the areas in which he believes the potential as well as current the challenges of additive manufacturing technology lie.
In your opinion, what significance does additive manufacturing have for the Spanish industry?
Additive manufacturing plays a global role in the Spanish industry. 3D printing is increasingly being used in various sectors, such as automotive, healthcare, architecture or design, as it allows the manufacture of rapid, personalized and specific prototypes. 3D printing is also synonymous with innovation and development, thanks to the research centres, laboratories and universities that are applying this new technology and promoting its use and capabilities. And for this reason, we cannot forget the role of additive manufacturing in vocational training, which creates specialized talent to continue offering job and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Additive manufacturing has continuously developed in recent years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider to be particularly important for the industry sector?
3D printing opens a whole range of opportunities for mass customization of solutions, rapid large-scale production, and systematic refinement of your solutions. Currently, additive manufacturing can produce parts with dozens of different materials, from plastics, ceramics, food and fibers. We are able to produce much faster compared to traditional methods, and more sustainable and affordable environmentally friendly trends are growing. These new applications will offer a myriad of innovative solutions in many fields of industry and the quality of life of citizens.
First Corona and the now high inflation pose major challenges for the entire industry. In your opinion, how do the multiple crises affect the additive manufacturing industry?
Economic crises, such as the one resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, or the current inflation, present challenges for the additive manufacturing industry in terms of demand, investment and financing. In this regard, there may be a decrease in demand as businesses and consumers reduce their non-essential spending. In addition, reduced research can even postpone investment in new products and solution development, something that can negatively impact the additive manufacturing industry, as innovation and the development of new materials and technologies are critical to its growth. And the decrease in financing during periods of economic crisis can affect the expansion of companies’ operations and even the acquisition of new products.
What impact do you think additive manufacturing will have on various industries and possibly society in the coming years?
Additive manufacturing has, and will continue to have, a very positive impact on society, enabling personalization, promoting sustainability, advancing medicine and health, driving innovation, and transforming the supply chain. As it continues to develop and offer new products and solutions, it will surely continue to grow and generate more benefits for society.
You can find out more about DFactory Barcelona here.