A company has been established in the UAE with the purpose of developing a distributed 3D printing network.

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Tel Aviv-based software company Assembrix Ltd has joined forces with Abu Dhabi’s Economic Value Add Program (EVAP) Investment to create a distributed manufacturing network for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Assembrix’s Virtual Manufacturing Space (VMS) platform, compatible with leading additive manufacturing (AM) platforms such as EOS and Nikon SLM Solutions, will be made available throughout the UAE and the wider Gulf region. The partnership aims to enable local manufacturers to securely print parts from files transmitted via the VMS network.

While there are no restrictions on the types of products compatible with this model, Assembrix’s expertise in aerospace, defense, and oil & gas makes it particularly suited for the Gulf market. Assembrix CEO Lior Polak expressed excitement about the partnership’s potential for innovation in the AM market, while EVAP Investment’s managing director, Kim Schofield, highlighted the impact on the UAE and GCC AM ecosystem.

In other news, Dubai-based services bureau Paradigm 3D announced a $5 million investment in a facility to print aerospace parts, becoming the first certified aerospace parts facility in the Middle East. Though it remains unclear if Paradigm 3D will use Assembrix’s VMS platform, its operation aligns with the rationale behind the Assembrix/EVAP Investment collaboration.

Assembrix’s VMS platform occupies a similar space in the AM market to Markforged’s recently unveiled Digital Source, although VMS does not appear to facilitate licensing of digital part files from major brands. Markforged plans to make Digital Source compatible with 3D printers from other OEMs in the future, leaving room for potential compatibility with other digital networks like Assembrix’s VMS.

The timing seems opportune for Assembrix as the Gulf region is rapidly expanding its capacity for 3D printed aerospace and oil & gas parts. The fact that Israeli and UAE companies are at the forefront of this ecosystem raises questions about the activities of the little-known “I2U2 Group,” a security dialogue involving the US, Israel, India, and the UAE. If the I2U2 Group is ramping up its efforts, Assembrix could soon expand into India.

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