Metafold’s 3D Engineering Platform Helps Additive Manufacturers Accelerate Design and Production Speed

Sept. 7, 2023
3D printing is about more than an efficient manufacturing methodology; it’s about the efficiency, the process and the improvements of the parts that are made.

Dr. Elissa Ross, co-founder and CEO of Metafold, the developer of a Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) cloud-based software, recently sat down with Sharon Spielman, technical editor of Machine Design. They discussed Metafold’s beginnings, the technology behind its computation engine, its impact on key markets and its commitment to sustainability.

In this final of a three-part series, Ross talks about the challenges for the 3D printing industry and the future for industrial additive manufacturing. She says the greatest difficulty is that companies need to see the complete package before them when it comes to the 3D printing space.

“They need to see the interface between…how they design, how they manufacture, what materials they’re using and then what the end product is in stage,” she says. “There [are] so many interlocking factors for any successful additive manufacturing project.” 

READ MORE: Shaping Sustainability in 3D Printing

 When asked where she sees the 3D printing space in five years, Ross looks forward by first taking a look back. “When I look back at the earlier days of 3D printing, I think we kind of got off to a bit of a false start with it in the sense that…there was this idea that 3D printing would replace conventional manufacturing, and every home would have a 3D printer. It was like the Star Trek replicator,” she says. The ability to print whatever we needed on demand has not come to pass—and it’s not going to, she says. 

“This is not actually the end goal of 3D printing…Where I think we are going is greater clarity about those incredible applications of 3D printing and the biopharmaceutical examples are really exciting to me because I think they have the potential to reshape a regenerative medicine,” Ross says. She also notes the ability to optimize parts in industrial applications. 

 “So, I think in five years’ time, we will see even more of those applications come to life, she adds. The hardware and materials are coming along [at] an incredible pace…We’re going to start to see…lots of things in our built environment being reconsidered and optimized, improved toward more sustainable and…just more efficiency over the long run. So, I’m super excited to just to check back in in five years and see where we’re at.”

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