Welcome to M. Holland’s 2021 Market Trends Podcast Series! At the turn of each year, M. Holland’s market managers take time to reflect on the past year and anticipate the year to come. What drove their market segments? What can the industry expect to see in the coming months? Typically, we share these insights and predictions in a blog, but this year we decided that a podcast format is more fitting.
Listen in over the next few weeks as these market managers give us an insider’s look at the plastics industry. This episode is all about 3D printing. M. Holland added 3D printing to its list of markets in 2018 and saw growth almost immediately as new methods and materials gained popularity. This market seemed very promising. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and this market suddenly became the star of the show in developing life-saving PPE. Haleyanne Freedman, our 3D printing market manager and engineering consultant, joins us to discuss what a whirlwind of a year 2020 was.
Welcome to M. Holland’s 2021 Market Trends Podcast Series. At the turn of each year, M. Holland’s market managers take time to reflect on the past year and anticipate the year to come. What drove their market segments? What can the industry expect to see in the coming months? Typically, we share these insights and predictions in a blog, but this year we decided that a podcast format is more fitting.
Listen in over the next few weeks as these market managers give us an insider’s look at the plastics industry. This episode is all about 3D printing. M. Holland added 3D printing to its list of markets in 2018 and saw growth almost immediately. As new methods and materials gained popularity, this market seemed very promising. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and this market suddenly became the star of the show in developing life-saving PPE. Haleyanne Freedman, our 3D printing market manager and engineering consultant, joins us to discuss what a whirlwind of a year 2020 was.
Yes, so I am the market manager for the 3D printing, additive manufacturing division of M. Holland. And we do consulting and material distribution for all types of different additive technologies.
As you reflect on 3D printing in 2020, what stands out to you as a key learning point?
2020 was actually a really big year for 3D printing, as I’m sure everybody is aware. 3D printing was really able to step in with the supply chain issues that we had back in March, with printing face shields and masks and all different types of helpful COVID components. And it really was able to get a successful footing for the rest of the industry and really help some manufacturers see the value that 3D printing brings that might not have been very clear before. So, that was a big turning point for the additive industry. And as a result, it really caused a lot of unique and interesting materials to either be launched into the marketplace or expedited. And it’s also started a lot of material research projects that will be very lucrative for the entire industry moving forward.
Is there a materials application that won the year for you?
Polypropylene. Polypropylene was hands down the most exciting material that we have as of this year. 3D printing polypropylene has been available for several years, but an easy to use and highly printable material with a low failure rate was impossible before; it just wasn’t possible. It was a really difficult material to use. And then with the new material that Braskem launched that we distribute, it made a huge difference.
We have less than half of the failure rate that we had before we were able to print unique geometries. You’re able to print more parts per kg with polypropylene versus some of the other commoditized materials like PLA and ABS. So, it was really significant and especially for the plastic injection molding market, which we obviously cater to and specifically serve, that’s one of the highest-volume materials that M. Holland sells in general for pellets. So it really helped us transition some of the applications that do make more sense to produce from a production standpoint, with polypropylene, with 3D printing transfer over to the other side.
In the midst of the pandemic, you actually moved laboratories. Can you talk about that process and how you made it a seamless transition for everyone?
In the middle of the pandemic, right before everything shut down, we were in the process in our Northbrook headquarters of moving our laboratory up to the next floor, so that we could expand our space. And we had, you know, something kind of crazy happened with the building where they weren’t going to be able to meet the power requirements for our new equipment and all this crazy stuff. And so we started looking to move our facility offsite and we actually found this wonderful facility in Chicago that is a full-blown manufacturing facility, that we were able to rent a space in. And we built a full-blown advanced additive manufacturing lab. We doubled our capacity; we got more printers. You know, we got at least a dozen more printers and we doubled our staff all in the middle of this pandemic. So for one, I think it speaks volumes to how much that M. Holland sees the future of 3D printing and really values the technology and the advancements that are possible with the technology. But it’s also been just, it’s been a wonderful experience for us and our staff and team to now have access to even more equipment than we had before and, you know, more hands-on so that we can really, really help further the adoption and offer even more solutions to our customers.
Putting last year behind us and looking ahead to the coming year, Haleyanne, what are you most excited to see from a 3D printing perspective in 2021?
With the surge in 3D printing in 2020, I expect to see a lot of new players entering the market in 2021 with creative solutions or solving the problems that we’ve been experiencing for years, that the industry just wasn’t mature enough to address. So, I think that 2021 will be a very big year for 3D printing, especially as companies attempt to diversify even more and bring more of their supply chain back into the U.S. and have more control over the supply chain. So, I really think that this is going to be the biggest year for adoption that we’ve ever seen before.
Thank you, Haleyanne, for sharing those 3D printing insights. And thank you for listening to this episode of our Market Trends Podcast Series. Continue to tune in and learn what 2020 meant and what 2021 will bring from markets including Healthcare, 3D Printing, Wire & Cable, Electrical and Electronics, Flexible Packaging, Rotational Molding, Color and Compounding, Automotive, and Sustainability. All episodes can be found on the news and insights page on the M. Holland website. We’ll see you next time.
Market Manager, 3D Printing
Haleyanne Freedman is the Market Manager of 3D Printing at M. Holland. She got her start in industrial manufacturing working for a machine tool importer managing its 3D printing department. Haleyanne has since developed in-depth knowledge of the additive manufacturing industry. She is well-versed in multiple CAD programs and received a certification in Additive Manufacturing Polymers and Metals from MIT. In her current role, she advises clients on equipment and product selection, process optimization and adoption, and material and application validation. She is also active in the Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Cluster and serves as Vice-Chair for Women in Manufacturing and Co-Chair for the Great Lakes Chapter of Women in 3D Printing. Haleyanne has a strong presence in the 3D printing community, frequently delivering presentations and training sessions at industry events.