Fi Innovations managing director Gareth Dykes says the procurement of the first Postpro3d in Australasia is “a big coup” for the industry [File Photo].
Invercargill-based Fi Innovations is set to receive Australasia’s first Postpro3d, a machine that uses patented chemical vapour smoothing technology to produce the smoothest finish currently possible in 3D printing.
Fi Innovations began investing in 3D technology in 2019, and by 2020, was classified as an essential business during the Covid-19 pandemic due to its ability to manufacture medical products.
Now, it is taking that innovation a step further in a $250,000 investment in the Postpro3d, due to arrive mid-November.
Fi Innovations managing director Gareth Dykes said the procurement of the machine would be a game-changer for the manufacturing industry, particularly in the aerospace, medical and food industry markets.
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About 20 per cent of its current production was medical products, which included prosthetics, he said.
Fi Innovations advanced manufacturing manager Derick Manson said the new machine would take out the last barrier that’s existed for 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, to be used for end-use manufacturing.
“Rather than prototyping, this now means that there’s nothing else, other than cost, that is a barrier for end-use manufacturing,” he said.
“In other words it’s the thing that unlocks additive manufacturing, us having the only one in Australasia means we’re the only ones that can unlock it.”
The new machine will allow Fi Innovations to manufacture food-grade products with biocompatibility for medical application at the lightest weight possible, he said.
“The holy grail of 3D printing is for everything to be as smooth as possible. Because 3D printing is a layering process, there’s always steps to it … this machine completely removes that.”
To pioneer the industry-leading technology from Southland was important for the multi-generational family company.
“We’re born and bred. To do this from Invercargill it’s like … yes it would be easier if we just up stumped and moved to Christchurch or something, but that doesn’t do Southland any good,” Manson said.
“It’s as much about improving our own business eco-system, as it is anything else.”