In the following video, 3D printing specialist Steve Heller interviews Jared Helfrich, global director of direct printing applications at ExOne (NASDAQ:XONE), during EuroMold 2014, the world's largest 3D printing conference held in Frankfurt, Germany, in November. During the segment, the pair discuss ExOne's binder-jetting 3D-printing technology, which the company leverages directly and indirectly to produce 3D-printed objects. Specifically, ExOne offers a range of 3D printers that can either directly print the final object or indirectly produce a part by first 3D printing a mold.
A full transcript follows the video.
Steve Heller: Hey, Fools, Steve Heller here. I'm joined today with Jared Helfrich, a global director of direct printing applications at ExOne. ExOne is an up-and-coming 3D printing company focused on the industrial manufacturing space particularly.
Jared, I just wanted to jump right in here. For our readers out there that aren't as familiar with ExOne, if you could just give us an overview of your company in the 3D printing landscape. There's a very diverse landscape happening here.
Jared Helfrich: Yes, absolutely. ExOne is [based on] a binder jetting 3D printing technology. We believe we have a unique manufacturing process: basically, the binder jetting [technology] with the print head coming across over a powdered layer bed.
We feel that puts us uniquely positioned for series [manufacturing] production and rapid prototyping within the industrial landscape.
Heller: You're talking about industrial prototyping. What does that really mean? What are your customers in manufacturing... it sounds like you're making more molds and things for industrial casting applications than you are, say 3D printing... is it more for prototyping, or is it direct manufacturing, I guess is what I'm getting at?
Helfrich: It's a combination of both, and that's what I think is unique about our technology. We have people coming in for prototyping, and with our speeds and the volumetric output at which we can produce parts, we are starting to see it moving into series [manufacturing] production on certain applications, on both the direct and indirect side.
Heller: Being at EuroMold, the largest 3D printing conference pretty much in the world, what do you think about this year's turnout, and are you seeing anything that's surprising you, being an insider yourself?
Helfrich: Yes, there's certainly a great turnout.
At least from my perspective, the direct printing, having the M-Flex [3D printer] here for the first time, is very important. We are starting to move into our European operations, moving the direct printing over here, so having the M-Flex here, having the good direct printing presence, is very exciting. It's been very vibrant the past couple days, and we'll probably expect that to continue today.
Heller: Great. Let's talk about the M-Flex for a moment here. What is the M-Flex? What does it do? How does it position your company going forward?
Helfrich: The M-Flex is our midsize direct printing machine. It has primarily been focused out of the North American operations, and we're starting to move that over into our European operations, both for PSC [3D printing production service center] and for machine purchases.
Heller: What's the difference between direct and indirect 3D printing at your company?
Helfrich: The way we look at our business is you can either directly print the part, or you can indirectly produce the part via a mold. When we segregate our businesses, we see people that, if we can direct print it, we'll direct print the part. If not, we will look to produce a casting -- or a mold for a casting.
Heller: What applications are best suited for direct printing, and what's best suited for the casting applications, for the indirect?
Helfrich: Actually, sort of both. We could see some aerospace, some art and decorative, and some automotive applications. On the indirect side, we're seeing a lot of aerospace and a lot of automotive applications.
Heller: In terms of any new direct printing applications -- obviously that's your specialty -- is there anything new you'd like to share with us today?
Helfrich: We did come out with the alloy IN625, which is the Inconel nickel-based alloy. We're continuing to look at materials that are well suited for our binder-jetting process. That could be bronze, copper applications, matrix materials, ceramics; the materials that we think are well suited for our process, the binder-jetting process.
Steve Heller owns shares of ExOne. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of ExOne. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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