Here is an excerpt from the Portland Business Journal article that appeared last week:

It wasn't long after Renee Eaton was introduced to 3D printing technology that she saw a business opportunity. Why not purchase 3D printing equipment and then add those services to her company’s offerings? As Easton saw it, owning the high-end equipment would allow RapidMade to provide local, sustainable and innovative manufacturing capabilities to small companies and individuals who couldn’t afford them otherwise. And so, RapidMade’s innovative business model was born. Here’s some more detail about RapidMade from Eaton herself.

 

How would you describe your business model? Unlike traditional manufacturers and online 3D printing service bureaus, our complete range of 3D technologies, combined with our in-house design/engineering, and personal service, deliver targeted, effective results ... that help clients create new products, accelerate development, improve quality and lower costs.

What’s unique about the manufacturing process? Unlike traditional manufacturing, where an object is made by taking a material and cutting it away to create the piece (subtractive manufacturing), digital fabrication builds it, layer by layer, as directed by a CAD file. This process is ideal for items made from expensive materials like titanium, customized and complex designs ­— that often cannot be machined traditionally — or assemblies which can be eliminated because the component is printed in one piece. And the lead times required to produce prototypes, parts, molds, patterns and tools are reduced to days from weeks.

What differentiates your company in the marketplace? RapidMade uses these advanced technologies as a means to an end. If a client comes to us, and we believe 3D printing (additive manufacturing) isn’t the best solution for him or her, we always say so. And if it isn’t, we can still provide traditional manufacturing alternatives. Another distinction is our in-house engineering staff whose experience enables them to design and create prints to maximize the effectiveness of this technology. Unlike many service bureaus that simply print what they get, we evaluate clients’ files to ensure they get what they want, not just what they upload to us.

Who uses your service?  Although we get the occasional enthusiast, RapidMade works almost exclusively with businesses and entrepreneurs.  We are very proud to have worked with a number of Fortune 100 companies as well as small- and medium-sized firms on some very novel projects.  Our work tends to focus on 3D scanning and reverse engineering, product development, low-volume production (replacement and finished parts as well as tooling, patterns and molds), architectural, artistic and sales models and customized figurines and promotional items.

Suzanne Stevens is Editor of the Portland Business Journal, overseeing the newsroom and guiding all news operations.

 

Come join us this Thursday to celebrate (details below)!

When: Thursday, October 29th | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Where: Sentinel Hotel | 614 SW 11th Ave. | Grand Ballroom

#PBJManufacturing

The Oregon Manufacturing Awards are intended to recognize Oregon Manufacturers. This is one of the few public awards programs for manufacturers in the United States.  We're honoring manufacturing firms from all over our region for outstanding operations, products, facilities, and most importantly, the best manufacturing workforces in the world.

As part of the awards program, Tim BoyleCEO of Columbia Sportswear will be joining us for a live Q&A with Publisher Craig Wessel. Tim is at the helm of the 70 year old sportswear apparel giant which his grandparents began in 1938. Although it is a public company today, Columbia remains a family affair. Boyle's 91-year-old mother Gertrude, aka "one tough mother" is chairman of the board, and both his son Joe and sister Sarah Bany are on the board. Tim started working at the company after his father passed away, helping his mother Gert run the fledgling retailer while he was finishing college. He took over as CEO in 1989.

Don't miss this conversation with this fascinating Oregon company, and discussion on where Columbia is headed in the future! 

Companies being recognized this year are:

  • Beaverton Foods
  • D.R. Johnson Lumber
  • Energy Storage Systems
  • Evo, Inc.
  • FEI
  • Indow
  • Microchip Technology Inc.
  • Pratt & Larson Ceramics
  • Premier Press
  • RapidMade
  • Shwood
  • Townshend's Tea Co.
  • Valliscor

 

 

Come see RapidMade at PSU's Business Accelerator Company 11th Annual Showcase.  We are officially graduating from the program tonight, Monday, May 18 at 5:15!

Here's the agenda:

Doors at 4pm
Pitch group 1:  4:30pm
Pitch Group 2 & Company Awards: 5:15pm
Pitch Group 3: 6:00pm

Now that 3D printing (additive manufacturing) has become the latest media darling, it's no surprise that this attention has awakened various national, state, and local authorities to its promise.  Yes, I follow these developments because I have a vested interest as someone who owns a 3D printing, engineering and manufacturing firm.  But part of my interest comes from growing up in a rust belt town once known as the "center of the universe" for steel manufacturing.  (Very few steel plants remain today).  Up the street (interstate) sits the New Stanton plant, so every time we drive between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, we pass the site. From the late 70s - late 80s, it housed a VW factory (a great coup for the state at the time) and afterward a Sony TV plant moved in and operated from the early 90s until 2008 when it also closed.  

We are too familiar with this scenario which has played out numerous times in every state. Products have life cycles.  Companies merge and consolidate.  Production shifts to locations with better labor and material costs.  So often public officials and civic leaders feel pressured to compete with one another to land the next big thing.  Is that N-B-T additive manufacturing? Maybe...

America Makes, a collaboration of government, business, academic and non-profit representatives promotes 3D printing innovation and resides in the heart of the Rust Belt.  Similar initiatives have since been launched...

An Illinois consortium was selected to lead The Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute.

The Lightweight & Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) Institute will be directed by a Michigan-based consortium.

The Next Generation Power Electronics National Manufacturing Innovation Institute is comprised of a North Carolina-based consortium.

A competition is now underway (application deadline this week) to select a consortium for the Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Composites Materials and Structures.

And, not to be left behind, various counties, states and regions have joined pursuit.

Notice anything all these collaborations have in common?  Any west of the Mississippi?  I'm not saying there aren't any, but a quick internet search came up with none.  Nor do I begrudge the rust belt - as someone who managed and lived through a plant closing there, I support bringing back manufacturing jobs to the region.  And I live in Maryland, so obviously I'm excited about its promotion of 3D printing.  But as someone whose AM business is headquartered in Portland, Oregon (yes, it's a long commute), I don't want the Northwest to miss out. Because, at least for now, this emerging technology should generate enough opportunities for all.  The Northwest's demographics, location and passion for sustainability, collaboration, and creativity make it an ideal innovation hub.