With its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium and branches all over the world, the Materialise group is best known for its activities in the field of rapid industrial and medical prototyping. The group has several subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and the USA, and employs over 500 people in its four entities. Rapidparts Limited in the UK has a team of specialists dealing with software application development, with special interest in powder bed and near net shape development.

Apart from having the largest capacity of rapid prototyping equipment in Europe, Materialise enjoys a worldwide reputation as provider of innovative software solutions. As such, Materialise has acquired the position of market leader for 3D printing and Digital CAD software in addition to being a major player in medical and dental image processing and surgery simulation. Moreover, through its unique .MGX division for design products, Materialise is currently opening the market for customised Rapid Manufacturing. The customer base includes all large companies in the automotive, consumer electronics and consumables sectors.

The laser powder bed systems that will be used in this project operate Materialise software. The complexity of the shapes that can be generated using ALM are currently restricted by the ability of the software to create the required toolpaths to produce the parts. Materialise will bring background knowledge and expertise to develop the software required to deliver on the more advanced part designs developed through the programme.