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Start-up series: Small but mighty - additive manufacturing of micro components at MetShape

The Centre for Precision Technology (ZPT) in Pforzheim is home to the innovative start-up company MetShape GmbH, which specializes in the sinter-based additive manufacturing of high-precision small and micro metal parts.

Under the leadership of Managing Partner Dr. Andreas Baum, MetShape offers comprehensive services in the field of 3D printing - from prototyping to series production as well as supplementary sintering and finishing services. The company sees itself not only as a service provider, but also as a partner for application development and research. 

High-precision components for medical technology

MetShape is particularly strong in the field of medical technology. The company manufactures metallic components used in medical devices and implants. "Thanks to the unique lithography-based metal manufacturing (LMM) technology, which makes it possible to produce the smallest structures with the highest precision and surface quality, complications can be minimized and patient safety increased. This is of high importance to us," says Baum. This technology was developed in collaboration with Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences and led to the founding of MetShape in 2019.

One example for the use of LMM technology is the production of precise surgical instruments and implant components. A recent study by Pforzheim University confirmed the compatibility of the materials used by MetShape for medical applications, which underlines their suitability for use in medical technology. The founder explains: "The production of very small and complex components without support structures leads to improved surface quality and reduced post-processing costs. The flexibility in material selection and process adaptation as well as the complete design freedom set MetShape apart from other manufacturing methods such as CNC and metal injection molding." The ability to print complex internal structures such as curved cooling channels is particularly impressive, as it would not be possible using conventional methods.

Size comparison of micro metal parts ©  MetShape GmbH

A strong network and future-oriented partnerships

MetShape is closely integrated into an ecosystem consisting of partners and networks in additive manufacturing and medical technology. Collaboration with engineering companies, material suppliers, research institutions and funding organizations is an integral part of the company's strategy. Partnerships with development partners enable MetShape to continuously improve its processes and products.

Funding programs and investors play a crucial role in MetShape's corporate development. "They make it possible to invest in research, develop new technologies and expand production capacities. This has enabled us to place our technologies on the market faster and expand our team," says Baum.

A success story from Pforzheim

The idea for MetShape was born from the realization that LMM technology could fill a gap in the market for high-precision small metal parts that are difficult and costly to produce using traditional methods. Since its foundation, MetShape has achieved a lot, including the development and market launch of LMM technology, successful projects in various industries and the expansion of production capacities. "The shipment of the first parts to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023 was also an outstanding success for us," says Baum.

Into the future with high-tech

MetShape plans to further expand its technology platform and open up new areas of application. International expansion and the establishment of further partnerships in medical technology and other industries are also on the agenda. In addition, the portfolio is to be expanded to include additional additive manufacturing technologies in order to offer customers even more flexibility and options.

A particular goal is to act as a thought leader in the field of additive manufacturing of micro metal parts. MetShape wants to pass on valuable input and impart knowledge through targeted content in order to promote exchange within the industry.

In the coming months, production capacities will be further increased and additional customer projects in the field of medical technology and other high-tech industries will be implemented. The clear focus will remain on quality and innovation.