Barcelona, March 1, 2021. - The first European incubator of high technology in 3D printing promoted by the Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona (CZFB) and the technological center Leitat and with the support of FEDER Funds through the Incyde Foundation of the Chambers of Commerce of Spain, the 3D Incubator, celebrates today two years of operation. Since its inauguration in March 2019, 55 companies have been incubated, thus exceeding the initial expectations that foresaw reaching 100 projects during the first 5 years, and it has received more than 300 applications from start-ups and entrepreneurs to develop their 3D printing-based business idea in the incubator, of which 79% are of national origin and 21% are international. In this line, the incubator has also contributed to the generation of quality employment, with more than 50 jobs created by the incubated companies.
The facilities host companies from different sectors: consumer goods industry (19), technology consulting (12), healthcare technology (7), mobility (7), ICT (7), robotics (1), logistics (1), and chemicals (1).
3D Incubator, added value during the pandemic
3D printing is characterized by the freedom it offers in the design and customization of parts, its ability to print complex elements in one piece, without assembly, thus allowing to streamline processes and save costs not only in prototyping but also in the final market product. In this sense, in a year marked by the impact of Covid-19 at a global level, the activity in the 3D Incubator has not been affected and has even expanded its facilities from 600 to 1000 square meters, in response to the increased demand for space by companies and incorporating new scanning equipment, printing and post-processing of parts.
With the spread of the pandemic globally, in March 2020, the incubator team joined forces with CZFB, Leitat, HP, CatSalut, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa (CST) and Hospital Parc Taulí to create the first medically validated and industrializable 3D campaign ventilator, Leitat 1. The 3D Incubator also collaborated in the production of the Multivent bifurcator, which multiplies access to assisted ventilation equipment at a time when ICU equipment is in short supply.
The 3D Incubator has become a reference center for Industry 4.0, so in its two years of operation it has received visits from some 850 companies and throughout this last year, despite the difficulties generated by the state of alarm, the visits of Filmax, Samsung, Henkel, BCN3D, Continental, Forbes, HP, Materialise, MWC Foundation or Escribà, among others, stand out.
Likewise, in the last year many authorities such as King Felipe VI; the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez; the Government’s third Vice President and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño; the Minister of Innovation and Science, Pedro Duque; the High Commissioner for Spain Entrepreneurial Nation, Francisco Polo; or the Government’s delegate in Catalonia, Teresa Cunillera, have wanted to see the incubator first-hand.
Pere Navarro, special delegate of the State at the Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona, highlights how "in a year marked by uncertainty at a global level, the 3D Incubator has been an example of the type of activity that will lead the new economy". "From the CZFB we are committed to promoting the development of Industry 4.0, based on sustainability and the creation of partnerships, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Objectives", assures the special delegate of the entity.
For his part, Joan Parra, CEO, and executive vice president of Leitat, points out that "throughout these two years we have witnessed the enormous talent that is emerging around a new industry that is betting on 3D printing, not only as a prototyping tool, but also as the basis for its business project. Additive manufacturing technologies offer multiple advantages and opportunities to turn a priori impossible ideas into successful projects with rapid development: from electric saxophones to insoles 100% adapted to diabetic patients, masks for people with sleep apnea or the latest trend in electric mobility. We have seen how collaborative synergies have arisen among the incubatees themselves thanks to being part of this innovation ecosystem and we are excited to know that this is only the first step and that very soon these synergies will be able to reach a new level with the opening of the Center of Excellence 4.0, DFactory BCN."
About Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona
Consorci is a public company that is financed entirely with its own funds, such as the industrial leases of the Barcelona Free Trade Zone Industrial Park and its asset management. Although its main field of activity is the industrial estate and its customs free zone, it also promotes buildings, urban and industrial land, acts as a driving force for business transformation towards the 4.0 economy and organizes events of economic interest for Barcelona such as the SIL logistics show or the BMP real estate show.
Its plenary has representatives of the Spanish government, the Barcelona City Council, and the main economic entities of the city.
Leitat, founded in 1906, has the mission of Managing Technologies to create and transfer Social, Environmental, Economic, and Industrial sustainable value to companies and entities, through research and technological processes. From our state-of-the-art facilities we are collaborating with more than 45 countries and developing more than 215 projects in the fields of: Biotechnology, Health, Advanced Materials, Industrial Chemistry, Renewable Energies and New Production Processes. We focus our energy on promoting teams specialized in Technology Transfer, which allow us to generate collaborative and reliable business environments to achieve a knowledge-based economy and the development of talent.
We are a Technology Center, accredited by ACCIÓ and recognized by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, which promotes collaboration and cooperation, providing knowledge and experience in a global environment.