Hulotech entrepreneurs at printer
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3D printing company Hulotech ready for the future

The men behind Hulotech from Stadskanaal are convinced that 3D printing is the future. It is efficient, the products exceed the quality of their non-3D-printed counterparts, and the applications are numerous. For example, the first prosthetic parts have already rolled out of the 3D printer in Groningen. But there is much more in the pipeline.

3D printing company Hulotech from Stadskanaal can make anything, says general manager Huiting. 'You can actually think of anything or it can be 3D printed. This is happening on an increasingly large scale and I expect that the technology will increasingly replace existing production methods. Think, for example, of parts for certain machines in industry. Suppose a company comes in and needs 100 pieces of a certain part. You used to have to make a mold first, but now we can digitally convert the part and 3D print it. That is of course much more efficient, especially for relatively small quantities.'

Although the 3D printing market is still in its infancy, the technology is not new and more and more companies are doing it. But Hulotech offers something extra that has everything to do with the men behind the company. Huiting: "We complement each other perfectly. Richt is originally a mechanical engineer and I have a background in electronics. This means that we not only 3D print something for a customer, but we also think along with them in the design process or even translate a question into a design ourselves if necessary. And in this we are one of the few.'

Processing Station

In addition to series production, Hulotech focuses on custom-made products such as prosthetics. For this they work together with OIM Orthopedics, among others. Peter de Groot of OIM is very pleased with Huiting and Loorbach. 'They are not specialized in orthopedics but can make the translation of an orthopedic problem into a 3D printed solution. That is really a substantial difference from other 3D printing companies that are only focused on manufacturing.'

OIM has an orthopedic instrument shop where they make braces, corsets and prosthetics, among other things. All custom-made and therefore time-consuming. De Groot: "We still do everything by hand, but 3D printing is the future. It is easier and produces better products than plaster and a router. After all, you're talking about organic shapes, and of course that listens very closely. But with 3D printing, the possibilities are endless: for example, we are working on new more subtle designs, allowing, for example, more ventilation in a splint.'

The collaboration between the companies is still in the trial and error phase but the results taste like more. De Groot: 'It's hard to predict where the collaboration will lead but I think it won't stop at prosthetics,' OIM is very enthusiastic: 'This is truly innovative and the moment when the collaboration can slowly be expanded into something structural is definitely in sight.'


Hulotech has now taken the first step toward that structural cooperation. With capital from the NOM and a grant from Groningen@Work, Huiting and Loorbach have purchased a hypermodern 3D printer with which they can produce in series; not only prosthetic parts but different products for all kinds of customers. 'We are first going to optimize our production process. Once that is successful, we want to continue to grow. Where will we be in ten years? I don't dare say, but I see plenty of opportunities. You name it, we can make it, everything custom-made and efficiently produced. Isn't that great?